Ryanair has raised its profit guidance for the year ending 31 March to €1 billion ($1.1 billion), from a previous €800-€90 million, after a last-minute surge in Christmas and New Year bookings.

It now expects to carry 154 million passengers across the financial year – 1 million more than under its previous estimates.

Forwards bookings for January-April are 1% above the same period last year, something that should boost average fare in the airline’s fourth quarter.

However, better-than-expected figures for Ryanair are partially offset by ongoing weakness at the group’s Austrian subsidiary Lauda, which continued to see weak average fares over the festive period.

“This is a direct result of intense price competition with Lufthansa subsidiaries in both Germany and Austria,” says Ryanair.

Lauda is now expected to carry 6.5 million passengers in the year to 31 March 2020, but with average fares €15 below budget, bringing Lauda net loss for the year to around €90 million from a previously forecast €80 millio