Ryanair has today announced that the financial year of 2021 was the most challenging year in its 35 year history. The airline said Covid-19 saw traffic collapse, almost overnight, from 149m to just 27.5m as many European Governments imposed flight bans, travel restrictions and national lockdowns.
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. Ryanair expects intra-European air travel capacity to be materially lower for the foreseeable future and that this will create opportunities to extend airport growth incentives, as the Group takes delivery of 210 new (lower cost) Boeing 737s.
Ryanair says it is encouraged by the recent release of multiple Covid-19 vaccines and hopes that the rollout will facilitate the resumption of intra-Europe air travel and tourism this summer. If, as is presently predicted, most European populations are vaccinated by September, then Rynair believes that it can look forward to a strong recovery in air travel, jobs and tourism in the second half of the current fiscal year (FY22). Ryanair says the recent strong increases in weekly bookings since early April suggests that this recovery has already begun.
In a statement today, Ryanair said, "Since March 2020, the Group has lowered cash burn by cutting costs, participating in EU Govt. payroll support schemes, cancelling share buybacks and deferring non-essential capex. Over the past year, the Group successfully raised c.€1.95bn in new finance (incl. €400m share placing, €850m eurobond and £600m CCFF) and cash was further boosted by supplier reimbursements during the year. This financial strength enables the Group to capitalise on the many growth opportunities that will be available post Covid-19."