31/07/2019 12:28 BST

Ryanair Boss Michael O’Leary Takes 50% Pay Cut

The budget airline reported a 21% fall in profits this year...

Michael O'Leary's annual pay has been cut from €1m to €500,000

The outspoken boss of Ryanair has had his pay and annual bonus cut by 50%.

Michael O’Leary will now take home a €500,000 annual salary instead of €1m, with his bonus also cut to the same amount, the company’s annual report states. The 58-year-old does not receive any pension benefits from the company

But O’Leary, who signed a new five-year contract to remain group chief executive in February, has 10 million share options, which means he could be in line for a near €100m windfall if Ryanair’s net income exceeds €2bn in any year up to 2024. 

Last year, O’Leary received €3.37m in salary, bonus and share-based payments.

It comes as the budget airline reported a 21% fall in profits to €243m (£219m) in the first quarter of this financial year.

The low-cost airline cited lower fares and higher costs for fuel and staff as reasons for the decline during the three months to the end of June.

O’Leary said: “The two weakest markets were Germany, where Lufthansa was allowed to buy Air Berlin and is selling this excess capacity at below cost prices, and the UK, where Brexit concerns weigh negatively on consumer confidence and spending.”

The airline said its average fares fell 6% year on year during the quarter, but this was partially offset by 14% higher ancillary revenue, such as baggage, food and other extras.

The drop in fares is expected to continue during the summer season, and across the whole financial year will be “towards the lower end” of minus 2% to plus 1%, it added.

Earlier this month, the firm slashed its expected growth rate for summer 2020 from 7% to 3% amid a delay in deliveries of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

It was due to have 58 of the planes for that season, but now expects to receive just 30.

The airline believes deliveries will begin in “January at the earliest”, Ryanair said on Monday.

O’Leary added that the airline will “continue to negotiate attractive growth deals as airports compete to attract Ryanair’s reliable traffic growth”.

Passenger numbers are expected to grow by 7% to more than 152 million for the year to March 31 2020, which is slightly less than the 153 million previously forecast due to the Max delays.

The forecast for profits after tax for the year remains unchanged at between €750m and €950m (£675m-£850m).