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Ryanair says it's still on track for record profits despite flight cancellations

  • Neil Sorahan, chief financial officer of Ryanair, told CNBC Tuesday that the results showed a "very solid performance" and underpinned the strength of its model
  • "We will have a little bit of cost inflation on the staffing front but still way lower than everybody else out in the market at this point in time," Sorahan said

Ryanair posted an 11 percent rise in net profit for the first half of the year, and iterated it's still on track for solid full-year results despite recent flight cancellations.

Here are some of the key metrics:

  • Net profit: 1.293 billion euros ($1.51 billion), vs 1.168 billion euros a year ago
  • EPS: 1.07 euros ($1.25) vs 0.92 cents a year ago
  • Revenue: 4.425 billion euros ($5.15 billion), vs 4.132 billion a year ago

Neil Sorahan, chief financial officer of Ryanair, told CNBC Tuesday that the results showed a "very solid performance" and underpinned the strength of its model.

The Irish airline has struggled in the last few months over issues with its pilots — leading to 20,000 flight cancellations. The firm has hired over 900 pilots so far this year to man new aircraft deliveries, but says that it does not have a shortage. It has, however, admitted that in September it entered a "series of poor planning decisions" that led to flight cancellations.

"We will have a little bit of cost inflation on the staffing front but still way lower than everybody else out in the market at this point in time and indeed we are very much on track to deliver our 200 million customers over the next seven years to March 2024," Sorahan told CNBC.

The airline tried to reassure investors noting that most customers that saw their flights cancelled chose to re-accommodate with an alternative Ryanair flight and only two out of 87 pilot bases have rejected a new pay deal.

"I think the offer we have on the table for our people speaks for itself," Sorahan told CNBC.

However, not everyone seems convinced. "Pilot problems will not go away," analysts at Bernstein said in a note Monday.

"Ryanair's pilot problems are systemic and will continue to haunt the airline. However, we believe that Ryanair's measures will contain the risk, and while this is something to be watched, we expect Ryanair to be swift and address outstanding issues," they added.

Ryanair foresees lower growth in the second half of the year and full-year traffic to drop from 131 million to 129 million customers. Nonetheless, the airline believes that it is on track to deliver a profit after tax in the range of 1.40 billion euros ($1.63 billion) to 1.45 billion euros ($1.69 billion) in its full fiscal year. This would be a record for the company's annual profit, according to Reuters.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that Ryanair has hired over 900 pilots so far this year to man new aircraft deliveries.