Wednesday 8/5/20

Ryanair sinks into the red

More than 99% of its fleet was grounded from mid-March to the end of June amid travel bans introduced across Europe due to the pandemic.
A crew member on board a Ryanair plane. Photo: Ryanair.
A crew member on board a Ryanair plane. Photo: Ryanair.

Times are hard for low-cost Irish carrier Ryanair, which has suffered a sharp drop in traffic and revenue.

The company on Monday reported a first quarter net loss in a business period it said was "the most challenging in Ryanair's 35-year history," the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The net loss of 185 million euros (216 million dollars) in the April-to-June period, compared with a net profit of 243 million euros in the corresponding period a year ago.

Revenue plunged 95% to 125 million euros in the quarter that ended on 30 June. Cost-saving measures could not offset the revenue loss. A year ago, the airline's revenues were 2.31 billion euros.

The company noted that more than 99% of its fleet was grounded from mid-March to the end of June amid travel bans introduced across Europe due to the pandemic. It flew 500,000 passengers, compared to last year's 41.5 million passengers. 

Ryanair on 1 July resumed flights across most of its route network, and expected demand to slowly rise in the coming months, saying it hoped to reach 70% of its normal schedule in September.

The biggest fear

The airline expected a "very challenging year," adding that "a second wave of Covid-19 cases across Europe in late autumn (when the annual flu season commences) is our biggest fear right now."

Ryanair also repeated recent criticism of various European government bailout schemes to flag carriers, including Alitalia, Air France/KLM, and Lufthansa.

The low-cast carrier, which has not received similar financial support, said the schemes "distort competition and allow unsustainable flag carriers to engage in below cost selling for many years to come."

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