Ryanair records £167m loss as passenger numbers fall by 99% due to coronavirus pandemic

Ryanair has revealed heavy losses between April and June, the first quarter of its financial year, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

During those three months, Europe’s biggest budget airline lost €185m (£167m) – an average of £20 per second.

The carrier saw passenger traffic fall by 99 per cent, handling only half a million travellers during 91 days. Ryanair would expect to fly that many people on a busy day this summer, were it not for Covid-19.

The load factor – the proportion of seats filled – fell from 96 to 61 per cent.

On 1 July, Ryanair started flying at 40 per cent of planned capacity for the summer. The airline hopes to scale up to 60 per cent in August and “hopefully” 70 per cent in September.

During the current financial year, Ryanair expects passenger numbers to fall by almost 60 per cent from 149 million to just 60 million.

The carrier has been heavily criticised for the lack of speed in issuing refunds after tens of thousands of flights were cancelled, but it hopes to have paid out 90 per cent by the end of July.

European air passengers’ rights rules stipulate cash refunds should be made within a week of a flight cancellation, but all airlines have struggled to meet that deadline.

Revealing the results, Ryanair complained about what it calls “a multi-billion flood of illegal state aid from EU governments to their flag-carrier airlines including Alitalia, Air France/KLM, Lufthansa, SAS, TAP and others”.

Many European airlines have received financial support from their governments.

Ryanair has also updated its expectations for the Boeing 737 Max – the aircraft grounded after two fatal crashes that killed a total of 346 people.

The carrier has a special, high-capacity variant of the jet on order. It hopes to take delivery of the first before the end of the year, and to have up to 40 Max aircraft ready for summer 2021.

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The airline said: “We remain committed supporters of these ‘gamechanger’ aircraft which have four per cent more seats, 16 per cent lower fuel burn and 40 per cent lower noise emissions.

“These new aircraft will enable the Ryanair Group to grow to 200 million passengers annually over the next five or six years.”



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