Strikes begin to weigh on Ryanair's profits

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LONDON (AP) - Ryanair says its first-half profit fell 7 percent as Europe's biggest discount airline faced rising costs and flight cancellations due to staff shortages and air traffic control strikes.

The Dublin-based carrier says Monday that profit before one-time items fell to 1.20 billion euros ($1.38 billion) in the six months through September, from 1.29 billion euros a year earlier. Net income dropped 11 percent to 1.15 billion euros.

Fuel expenses increased 22 percent amid rising energy prices. Staff costs jumped 33 percent after Ryanair recognized unions and workers negotiated higher pay deals.

Ryanair also warned about the increasing risk Britain will crash out of the European Union without an agreement on future trading relations. CEO Michael O'Leary said: "We remain concerned that the time to complete such an agreement is shortening."

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