News in brief: Ryanair, AIM, economy, jobs market

News in brief
News in brief

Ryanair boasts higher passenger numbers 

Budget airline Ryanair again pointed to vastly improved customer service as passenger numbers soared to new highs last month.

The carrier, which is benefiting from its Always Getting Better programme, said traffic grew 28% to 8.5million customers in March. Load factor rose 4% to 94%.

Annual passenger numbers to March is up 18% to 106.4million customers.

Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said: “These record monthly numbers were delivered despite three days of unjustified French air traffic control strikes which caused the cancellation of over 500 flights. It was due to our lower fares, stronger forwards bookings and the continuing success of our AGB programme. Our 106million customers can look forward to further improvements in 2016 as we will shortly launch Year 3 of AGB.”

UK jobs market grows 

The UK jobs market experienced a 15.1% growth in vacancies in the first quarter despite economic concerns surrounding the EU referendum, a tottering steel industry and a weak pound. According to job site CV Library the biggest job growth came in the Arts and Graphic Design sector, followed by social care, education, legal and the public sector. Liverpool saw the biggest increase in vacancy numbers followed by Edinburgh, Cardiff, London and Hull.

There was also a 3.9% growth in advertised salaries meaning the average wage has jumped from £31,710 to £32,938.

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library said: “The recruitment industry is often the first to feel the effects of economic fallout, so it’s reassuring to see the labour market remain strong during a shaky economic climate.”

AIM exchange sheds 100+ companies 

The AIM exchange has shed over 100 companies this year with a 55% reduction in the number of IPOs – the lowest level since the recession.

National accountancy group UHY Hacker Young said that a total of 105 companies had delisted from AIM and only 35 companies had floated in the past year, giving a net decrease of 70 firms.

This is substantially worse than last year, which saw a net decrease of 12 companies, and the prior year, which saw a net loss of just three.

UHY said the mean reason for companies leaving the market was financial stress and insolvency, the first time this has been the case since 2009/10, the worst year for delistings in AIM’s history.

It believes continued low commodity prices are having a large impact on AIM which has a traditional heavy reliance on small oil and gas explorers and emerging markets mining companies.

It added that the amount of funds raised from IPOs fell to £624million, a decrease of 53% from 2014/15.

Laurence Sacker, UHY partner, said: “The resolutely low oil price, the continuing slack Chinese demand for commodities and the lower-risk approach taken by NOMADs have combined to make the past year a very difficult one indeed for AIM. There doesn’t appear to be any immediate respite on the horizon for any of those issues, which suggest that the coming year may not deliver the upturn AIM companies are hoping for.”