Ryanair looks to Summer 2022 for Full COVID-19 Recovery

Ryanair suffered a steeper quarterly loss of €273 million as Covid-19 continued to “wreak havoc” on the business, group chief executive Michael O’Leary revealed today.

Europe’s largest airline flew 8.1 million passengers in the three months to June 30.

Revenue of €371 million was outweighed by operating costs of €675 million.

The cancellation of Easter traffic and the delayed relaxation of government travel restrictions across the EU into May and June required “significant” price stimulation.

The no-frills carrier expects traffic to rise from more than five million passengers in June to almost nine million this month and over ten million in August, providing there are no further Covid setbacks in Europe.

O’Leary said: “If, as is presently predicted, most of Europe’s adult population is fully vaccinated by September, then we believe that we can look forward to a strong recovery in air travel for the second half of the fiscal year and well into summer 2022 – as is presently the case in domestic US air travel.”

Bookings for the peak summer months have recovered strongly, albeit at low fares.

“With the booking curve remaining very close-in and fares well below pre Covid-19 levels, visibility for the remainder of the full year is close to zero,” O’Leary admitted.

It remains “impossible” to provide meaningful guidance for the 12 months to March 2022 but Ryanair expects the outcome to be between a small loss and breakeven.

But O’Leary cautioned: “This is dependent on the continued rollout of vaccines this summer, and no adverse Covid variant developments.”

He added: “As we look beyond the Covid-19 recovery, and the successful completion of vaccination rollouts, the Ryanair Group expects to have a materially lower cost base, a very strong balance sheet and industry leading traffic recovery.”

Ryanair took delivery of its first three B737 Max aircraft in June from an order of 210 aircraft. More than 60 are due into service ahead of next summer to drive growth to 200 million passengers a year by 2026.

O’Leary said: “Our new B737 ‘gamechanger’ aircraft will reduce fleet costs and unit costs thanks to its attractive pricing, higher seat density and 16% lower fuel burn for the next decade.

“They will enhance revenue opportunities with 4% more seats, enabling the group to fund lower fares and capitalise on the many growth opportunities that are now available across Europe, especially where competitor airlines have substantially cut capacity or failed.

“We are seeing a strong rebound of pent-up travel demand into August and September and we expect this to continue into the second half, with pre-Covid-19 growth planned to resume strongly in summer 2022.”

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