Ryanair has reported a €273 million loss for its first quarter even as traffic rebounded during the period.
The carrier said it carried 8.1 million passengers in the three-month period, covering April to June. This compares to just 500,000 in the same period a year earlier.
Revenues increased 196 per cent from €125 million in the first quarter of 2020 to €371 million for the same quarter this year. Operational costs also rose, however, jumping from €313 million to €675 million.
Net debt was €1,661 million at June 30th, which represented a €615 million reduction on the figure at the end of March.
With the group, Ryanair’s operation made a loss in the quarter of €245 million, Air Malta had a deficit of €2.7 million and the other airlines (Buzz and Lauda) made a combined loss of just more than €25 million.
“Covid-19 continued to wreak havoc on our business during the first quarter with most Easter flights cancelled and a slower than expected easing of EU travel restrictions into May and June,” said group chief executive Michael O’Leary.
“Based on current bookings, we expect traffic to rise from over five million in June to almost nine million in July, and over 10 million in August, as long as there are no further Covid setbacks in Europe,” he added.
Ryanair said the rollout of the EU digital Covid certificates and the scrapping of quarantine for vaccinated arrivals to Britain from mid-July has led to a surge in bookings in recent weeks.
First quarter scheduled revenues increased 91 per cent to €192 million on the back of the rise in passenger traffic although this was offset by the cancellation of Easter traffic and a delay in the relaxation of travel restrictions.
Ancillary revenue generated about €22 per passenger the company said.
Mr O’Leary foresaw growth opportunities for the airline due to the collapse of many European carriers during the Covid crisis, and widespread capacity cuts at other airlines.
“We are encouraged by the high rate of vaccinations across Europe. If, as is presently predicted, most of Europe’s adult population is fully vaccinated by September... then we believe that we can look forward to a strong recovery in air travel for the second half of the fiscal year and well into 2022 – as is presently the case in domestic US air travel,” he said.
However, the airline warned the future remains challenging due to continued Covid restrictions and a lack of bookings and that this meant it was “impossible” to provide “meaningful” guidance at the time.
“We believe that full year 2022 traffic has improved to a range of 90 million to 100 million (previously guided at the lower end of an 80 million to 120 million passenger range) and (cautiously) expect that the likely outcome for the year is somewhere between a small loss and break even. This is dependent on the continued rollout of vaccines this summer, and no adverse Covid variant developments,” Mr O’Leary said.