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Ryanair posts record €815 million annual loss but expects strong travel rebound this summer

Michael O’Leary said he’s “very optimistic” for the next few months.

Image: Sasko Lazarov

RYANAIR HAS REPORTED a full-year loss of €815 million after Covid-19 restrictions caused traffic to fall by 81%.

But the airline said it expects to benefit from a “strong rebound of pent up travel demand” through the second half of 2021.

Ryanair carried just 27.5 million passengers in the 12 months to the end of March, down from 148.6 million in the previous year.

“There was a partial recovery during summer 2020, as initial lockdowns eased, however, a second Covid-19 wave in Europe followed quickly in the autumn with a third wave in spring,” the airline said this morning.

“This created enormous disruptions and uncertainty for both our customers and our people, as they suffered constantly changing government guidelines, travel bans and restrictions.”

 

Ryanair expects to carry between 80 million and 120 million passengers this year. 

Ryanair group chief executive Michael O’Leary said this morning that the airline was “very optimistic for the next couple of months” after bookings trebled during the past six weeks.

He told BBC Breakfast, “The UK vaccine programme has been extraordinarily successful. We’re up to 60% of the adult population having received their first dose.

“European countries recognise that. They’re beginning to lift restrictions on inbound UK visitors. Portugal this morning. We’re very hopeful that Italy and Greece will be added to that green list before the end of May, and Spain will come shortly thereafter.”

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O’Leary said that fares will remain low this summer but could soar in 2022 as the number of seats will be 25% lower than before the pandemic due to airlines collapsing or reducing their operations.

He said, “There’s no doubt in my mind that prices will rise, particularly during the peaks of the bank holiday weekends, the school holiday travel period, but that won’t affect bookings for summer 2021.

“In 2021 prices will never be cheaper because all the airlines are running with much lower advanced bookings than we have ever had before because of the travel restrictions.

“So I think this summer there are going to be great travel bargains.

“But summer 2022, we will be urging people to book very early because I think there’s fewer seats and pricing will be higher.”

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