RYANAIR has upgraded its profit forecast despite rising losses at an Austrian subsidiary.

The company said that it is expecting to carry 154 million passengers in the full financial year, up by one million from previous forecasts.

On top of a stronger-than-expected Christmas, bookings are also up by one per cent going into the first three months of the year.

The company now expects profit after tax for the financial year to reach between €950 million (£806m) to €1.05 billion (£891m).

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It is an increase from previous guidance of between €800m (£679m) and €900m (£764m).

Ryanair said: “On the basis of current trading, Ryanair expects to finish close to the mid-point of this new range.”

The business, which shut its Glasgow base and slashed the number of routes it runs from the airport in 2018, said its Austrian arm was forced to compete against heavy discounts from rivals, adding Lufthansa and its subsidiaries were selling tickets at below cost.

As a result, net loss at Laudamotion will widen by €10m (£8.49m) to around €90m (£76.4m).

The company narrowly avoided a pilots’ strike in September when the union called it off.

Shares in Ryanair opened 8.5% higher at 16.5p.