Ryanair flies 9.3m passengers in July as air travel recovers lost ground

Figure beats previous predictions for the month after non-essential travel resumes

Ryanair confirmed on Wednesday that it operated more than 61,000 flights in July, the first full month of operation for the EU’s digital Covid certificates. Photograph: Tobias Schwarz/AFP via Getty Images

Ryanair confirmed on Wednesday that it operated more than 61,000 flights in July, the first full month of operation for the EU’s digital Covid certificates. Photograph: Tobias Schwarz/AFP via Getty Images

 

Ryanair carried 9.3 million passengers last month, figures published on Wednesday show. The Irish airline group added flights through July as European air travel recovered ground lost to Covid curbs over the previous 16 months.

The figure is ahead of its previous predictions for July. When Ryanair reported first-quarter financial results last week, chief executive Michael O’Leary said it expected passenger numbers to rise to almost nine million in July.

Previously, he had said that the total for last month, traditionally one of its busiest, would be between seven million and nine million.

Ryanair carried 4.4 million people in July last year when it restored about 60 per cent of its schedule following three months of severe lockdowns that grounded most flights in Europe.

The airline flew 14.8 million passengers in July 2019, the year before Covid struck. Last month’s total was 63 per cent of this.

July was the first full month of operation for the EU’s digital Covid certificates, meant to restore free movement in the union. Their introduction helped boost air travel in the region, where Ryanair, Europe’s biggest airline, does most of its flying.

Delayed

Some member states began accepting the certificates ahead of the scheme’s formal launch on July 1st. However, the Republic delayed its adoption of the scheme until July 19th.

The airline said it sold 80 per cent of the seats available last month on its aircraft, up from 72 per cent in June. Ryanair filled 97 per cent of its seats in July 2019.

The carrier confirmed on Wednesday that it operated more than 61,000 flights in July. According to EU air traffic control body Eurocontrol, Ryanair operated 2,200 flights on Tuesday this week. Key rival Easyjet had 1,020.

Ryanair believes it will fly between 90 million and 100 million passengers in its current financial year, which ends on March 31st, 2022. Previously, it had said the figure would be at “the lower end” of an 80 million to 100 million range.

The Irish airline group expects to break even or make a small loss in its current financial year.

Pre-Covid levels

Earlier this year, Mr O’Leary said that Ryanair’s passenger numbers could recover to 80-90 per cent of pre-Covid levels in September and October, while it could recover fully through its 2023 financial year.

Ryanair rose 1 per cent to €16.825 in early trade on the Dublin market after it published the passenger numbers, but the stock slid back later in the day.

Meanwhile, the airline will continue its once-weekly summer flights between Knock Airport and Malaga in Spain through the winter.

Ryanair will fly every Saturday from the Co Mayo gateway to the Costa del Sol airport through this winter.