Ryanair loses €410m in first half as pandemic takes toll

Covid-19 grounds 99 per cent of airline’s fleet from mid-March to the end of June

The airline lost €197 million in the first half, against a €1.15 billion profit for the same six months last year

The airline lost €197 million in the first half, against a €1.15 billion profit for the same six months last year

 

A collapse in air travel and once-off charges left Ryanair Holdings with a €410 million loss in the six months ended September 30th.

Revenues at the Irish airline group tumbled 78 per cent to €1.18 billion over the six months – the first half of its financial year – from €5.39 billion during the same period in 2019.

The airline lost€197 million in the first half, but a €227 million charge for fuel hedging and €5.9 million in finance costs left the group with total losses for the six-month period of €410.5 million.

Ryanair Holdings earned a €1.15 billion profit during the same six months last year.

Covid-19 grounded 99 per cent of its fleet from mid-March to the end of June as Europe’s governments banned air travel to contain the virus.

Consequently, the airline earned most of its revenues in the second quarter, from the end of June to the end of September, during which it operated at around 60 per cent of the previous year’s capacity.

Ryanair Holdings recently said that it expected to carry 38 million passengers during this financial year.

The group warned on Monday that it could cut this prediction again if EU governments continued to “mismanage air travel and impose more unco-ordinated travel restrictions or lock downs”.

In light of the current uncertainty, Ryanair Holdings did not give guidance for its full-year results.

Loan

The group had €4.5 billion in cash at the end of September. A €400 million share placing and an €850 million loan, both raised earlier that month, contributed to this total.

Chief financial officer, Neil Sorahan, said the group faced a challenging few months but added that it should emerge from the other side of the crisis.

“We will be in a very strong position, we will have the right cost base and the right cash position,” he added.

In a statement, Ryanair predicted that following the crisis, its balance sheet would allow it to fund lower fares and add new craft to cash in on opportunities where rivals had cut capacity or failed.

Mr Sorahan argued that US and EU regulators were likely to approve three Covid-19 vaccines around the end of this year, with another three likely to get the green light during the first quarter of 2021.

Meanwhile, Ryanair expects air travel safety authorities on both sides of the Atlantic to approve the Boeing 737 Max aircraft around the end of this year.

Mr Sorahan predicted that the airline should receive the first 30 of 200-plus Max aircraft that it has ordered early in 2021, on time for next summer.

Regulators grounded the craft in early 2019 following accidents in Asia and Africa blamed on a software fault.

They and Boeing have been working on ensuring that the 737 Max is airworthy since then.

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