RYANAIR boss Michael O’Leary has predicted a strong recovery for the budget airline as passengers return to the skies this summer after the firm reported a Q1 loss of €273million.
The figures, revealed on July 26, cited the cancellation of Easter travel and a “slower than expected easing of EU government travel restrictions” among the causes for the loss – which compared to a Q1 loss of €185million the previous year.
“Covid-19 continued to wreak havoc on our business during Q1 with most Easter flights cancelled and a slower than expected easing of EU Govt. travel restrictions into May and June,” Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary explained.
“Significant uncertainty around travel green lists (particularly in the UK) and extreme Govt. caution in Ireland meant that Q1 bookings were close-in and at low fares,” he added.
“We kept aircraft and crews current throughout the quarter and recruited additional cabin crew to enable us recover quickly in Q2 as Covid restrictions ease.”
Mr O’Leary is feeling confident for the months ahead, however, with the vaccine rollouts and related EU digital Covid-19 certificate system providing a more positive outlook for the aviation industry.
“The 1st July rollout of EU Digital Covid Certificates (“DCC”) and the scrapping of quarantine for vaccinated arrivals to the UK from mid-July has seen a surge in bookings over recent weeks,” Mr O’Leary admitted.
“Pricing remains below pre Covid-19 levels and there will continue to be great value for Ryanair guests travelling this summer as we focus on recovering traffic, jobs and tourism across our European network.”
He added: “Based on current (close-in) bookings, we expect traffic to rise from over 5m in June to almost 9m in July, and over 10m in August, as long as there are no further Covid setbacks in Europe.”
The firm also expects to see further growth over coming periods due to the collapse of so many of its competitors during the pandemic.
"The Covid-19 crisis has triggered the collapse of many European airlines including Flybe, Norwegian, Germanwings, Level and Stobart, and led to substantial capacity cuts at many others,” he said.
“The tsunami of State Aid from EU governments to their insolvent flag carriers will distort EU competition and prop up high cost, inefficient, flag carriers for many years.
“We expect intra-European capacity to be materially lower for the foreseeable future<” he added.
“This will create growth opportunities for Ryanair to extend airport incentives, as the Group takes delivery of 210 new Boeing 737 “Gamechanger” aircraft.”