- Daily Zen
The London-listed carrier expects strong rebound.
Europe’s largest budget airline Ryanair Holdings Plc. has reported a better-than-expected annual post-tax loss of €815m as passenger numbers slumped by 81% to just 27.5 million, but added it would break even in the coming year as government’s start easing international travel restrictions.
The airline said its fortunes were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic as “European governments (with little notice or coordination) imposed flight bans, travel restrictions, and national lockdowns.”
The Dublin-based airline said its loss after tax performance over the 12 months to 31 March compared to profits of just over €1 billion in the previous year and was a consequence of passenger numbers slumping by 81% to just 27.5 million. Load factor declined to 71% from 95% year on year.
Ryanair shares were up 1.1% as of Monday morning.
Ryanair Holdings is counting on COVID-weary tourists as U.K. curbs ease, starting with Portugal. Bookings have tripled 1.5 million a week since April 1 as Britain permits open leisure travel to 12 nations and territories as it seeks to revive tourism while keeping control over the pandemic.
The carrier is likely to fly 5-6 million passengers in its April-June quarter, usually one of the busiest months in the airline industry.
Chief executive officer Michael O’Leary said he’s hopeful Italy and Greece will be added to the quarantine-exempt “green list” this month, followed by Spain in early June. The CEO is currently in talks with airports in Italy, Spain, Sweden, and central and eastern Europe about adding further flights.
“The likely outturn… is that we are looking at something between a very small loss and break-even for the next 12 months but there are a lot of moving parts and there is a lot of uncertainty,” O’Leary said in a video presentation.
“Most of the uncertainty revolves around the timing of the recovery and the fares that people will pay into the key June, July, August, September travel period,” he said.
O’Leary said he expects capacity on intra-European routes to be lower in the near future, creating luscious opportunities to target market share with lower prices, especially in the summer of 2022, when the London-listed carrier receives 65 Max planes out of an order of 210.