Ryanair today reported a third quarter loss of €306m in 2020, compared to a profit of €88m in the third quarter of the year before. In this 3-month period to 31 December, third quarter traffic fell from 36m to 8m (-78%).
Ryanair has warned that Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc across the industry. Christmas and New Year traffic was severely impacted by UK travel bans imposed at short notice by many EU Governments on 19 and 20 December. These flight bans and travel restrictions saw the Group’s December traffic fall by 83% to just 1.9m passengers.
As announced on 7 January, Ryanair expects the latest lockdowns and pre-arrival Covid test requirement to materially reduce flight schedules and traffic through to Easter. The Group’s full-year (FY21) traffic forecast was therefore reduced to “between 26m to 30m” passengers.
Ryanair expect intra-European capacity to be significantly reduced for the next few years, which will create growth opportunities for Ryanair to take advantage of recovery growth incentives, as it takes delivery of 210 new (lower cost) Boeing 737s. Furthermore, Ryanair says as soon as the Covid-19 virus recedes, Ryanair and its partner airports will rapidly restore schedules, recover lost traffic, help the nations of Europe to reboot their tourism industry, and create jobs for young people across the cities and beaches of the EU.
Ryanair said in the statement that it take some comfort from the success of the UK vaccine programme which is on target to vaccinate almost 50% of the UK population (30m) by the end of March. The airline has called for the EU to step up the "slow pace" of its rollout programme to match the UK’s performance.
According to Goodbody Stockbrokers, "While the headline numbers on losses look worse than forecast, the market will be comforted that this has not compromised the strength of the balance sheet, nor the ability of the company to position itself to take market share in the expected recovery this summer, with this the key message management are giving in its continued commitment to invest in crew training at this time of the year."