Ryanair loses €96m in final three months of 2021

Chief executive Michael O’Leary says Omicron hysteria hit pre-Christmas bookings

Ryanair lost €96 million in the last three months of 2021 as Omicron hit bookings in the run up to Christmas.

The Irish airline said on Monday that revenues rose 331 per cent during the quarter, the third of its financial year, to €1.47 billion from €340 million in the same three months in 2020.

Passenger numbers almost quadrupled to 31.1 million in the quarter from 8.1 million in the three months to 2020, when severe lockdowns shut travel across most of Europe.

Neil Sorahan, chief financial officer said that Omicron's emergence hit "close in bookings" costing Ryanair a potential 1.5 million to two million passengers.


“These were people who would typicallly book two weeks before Christmas and the New year,” he said.

“They did not materialise, they tend to be the higher-yielding passengers.”

Michael O’Leary, chief executive, said the media hysteria that Omicron generated in December forced many European governments to re-impose travel restrictions.

“As a result December traffic slowed to just 9.5 million, well behind the expected target of 11 million guests,” he said.

Mr O’Leary noted that Ryanair sold 81 per cent of the seats on its planes that month, against 86 per cent in November.

He cautioned that the outlook for the rest of Ryanair’s financial year, which ends on March 31st, was hugely uncertain.

Ryanair is cutting prices to boost bookings, which declined over the Christmas-New Year period.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas