Low-cost Irish carrier Ryanair recorded a total of 815 million euros (approximately $989 million) of after-tax loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but was quick to add that visible signs of recovery are emerging.
“FY21 was the most challenging in Ryanair’s 35-year history. Covid-19 saw traffic collapse, almost overnight, from 149m to just 27.5m as many European Govts. (with little notice or co-ordination) imposed flight bans, travel restrictions and national lockdowns,” the airline said in its report on the fiscal year 2021.
The report additionally states that the airline flew 27.5 million passengers in its financial year that ended in March, a significant decrease from 149 million passengers in the previous year. COVID-19 restrictions have forced the airline company to cancel 81% of its flights.
The company saw a partial increase in flights in the summer of 2020 as lockdowns eased, but the trend soon died down as a second and third lockdown followed in autumn.
In the new financial term, Ryanair expects to see between 5 and 6 million passengers booking flights in the first quarter starting in April. However, according to the report “FY22 continues to be challenging with uncertainty around when and where COVID lockdowns and travel restrictions will be eased.”
According to Group Chief Executive Michael O’Leary, a recent increase in weekly bookings from 50,000 a week to 1.5 million in early April suggested that the “recovery has already begun,” as quoted by RTE.
“If, as is presently predicted, most European populations are vaccinated by September, then we believe that we can look forward to a strong recovery,” O’Leary added.
The group chief executive also added that the loss the airline has had due to the COVID-19 pandemic was better than the company itself predicted, but still “fairly traumatic”.
In addition, the report said that the airline is planning to make more deliveries of the B737 “Gamechanger” aircraft which will improve revenues with 4% more seats and lower unit costs, especially in fuel.