Dublin (dpa) – Falling air traffic in the corona pandemic pushed Europe’s largest low-cost carrier Ryanair, as well as other airlines, into the red in summer.
For the winter, CEO Michael O’Leary is under no illusions given the growing number of infections, new lockdowns in several states and many travel restrictions. The company has once again significantly cut its flight offer for the winter months. Now O’Leary expects an even bigger loss in the cold half of the year than in the middle of summer, as Ryanair announced Monday in Dublin.
Despite the partial lockdown to be applied in England, Germany and other countries in November, passengers cannot expect refunds if their booked flights go through anyway. “If a flight departs, we will not give any refund,” Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary told the BBC. But you can rebook for December or January. For the months of November to December, the company has already reduced its flight offer to 40 percent of the level of the previous year.
After the actual stopover of the flight between mid-March and the end of June, the recovery in demand for tickets in the summer turned out to be misleading for Ryanair and other airlines. The increasing number of infections in many countries and new travel restrictions prevented many people from flying and Ryanair’s management pushed back the planned expansion of flight offerings a bit.
In the second fiscal quarter to the end of September, the most important travel time of the year, Ryanair posted a loss of around € 226 million. A year earlier there was a profit of 910 million euros. In the first half of the year, the loss amounted to slightly less than 411 million euros. In the second half of the financial year to the end of March, the negative sign should be even higher, he said.
For the entire financial year to the end of March 2021, Ryanair’s management expects around 38 million passengers, subject to change. If European Union governments issue more uncoordinated travel restrictions, the number could be even lower, he said. In the previous year, Ryanair had almost 149 million passengers.
Many airlines have been struggling for months to survive due to the pandemic. Lufthansa, Air France-KLM and others were saved from collapse with government aid worth billions. Ryanair considers this aid to be illegal and considers it a distortion of competition. The Irish low-cost carrier recently made fresh money from investors in the stock market due to the crisis. However, the company also benefits from the UK’s state crown loan program.
By the time after the pandemic, Ryanair believes it has a good chance of profiting from the difficult financial situation of many competitors. Flight supply within Europe is likely to remain subdued for years, he said. That allows Ryanair to expand its own route network and expand the fleet, he said.