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Ryanair sinks to worst loss in its 35 year history

Ryanair sinks to worst loss in its 35 year history: Covid travel restrictions send passenger numbers plunging

Ryanair has posted the biggest annual loss in its 35-year history after being battered by travel restrictions.

After the pandemic sent passenger numbers plunging, the budget airline swung from an £860million profit to a £701million loss in the year to March 31.

That was after revenues tumbled from £7.3billion to £1.4billion.

Ryanair boss boss Michael O’Leary (pictured) said he is still not certain it will break even over the next 12 months, adding that this will depend on the speed of the pandemic recovery

‘It’s better than we predicted, but still a fairly traumatic loss for an airline that has been consistently profitable for our 35-year history,’ Ryanair group boss Michael O’Leary said.

The record loss underlines the scale of the damage dealt to the airline industry by the Covid crisis.

Annual passenger numbers at Ryanair dropped from 149million to just 27.5million last year, as countries shut their borders and airlines cancelled flights.

Ryanair was provided some relief last summer as the virus temporarily receded and lockdowns eased, but this was swiftly followed by fresh waves in the autumn and winter that grounded many flights once again. 

However, passenger numbers are expected to recover to between 80m and 120m in 2021-22 as Ryanair benefits from ‘strong rebound of pent up travel demand’.

The airline said there had already been a ‘dramatic spring back in bookings’ prompted by tentative reopening of several destinations.

Since it was announced that travel restrictions in the UK were set to be eased on May 17, bookings have trebled from 500,000 to 1.5m per week, the firm said. 

Despite this, O’Leary said he is still not certain that Ryanair will break even over the next 12 months, adding that this will depend on the speed of the pandemic recovery. 

The Irishman, 60, added: ‘Most of the uncertainty revolves around the timing of the recovery and the fares that people will pay into the key June, July, August, September travel period.’

However, he said the airline would come out of the pandemic with a significantly reduced cost base due to cuts in wages, more efficient new aircraft and lower airport costs.

The firm has in recent months secured extensions on deals with key bases at London Stansted, Milan Bergamo and Brussels Charleroi.

Ryanair had been aiming for a bumper summer in 2022 with the delivery of Boeing 737 Max ‘Gamechanger’ aircraft and bases in Billund in Denmark; Riga; Stockholm; and Croatian spots Zadar and Zagreb. 

But in a blow to these plans, Ryanair has reported fresh delays in the delivery of the first 737 Max plane and they may not arrive until after the peak summer period.

O’Leary said he was ‘quite upset’ with Boeing over the delays.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk