Slow EU vaccine rollout hits Ryanair as losses top €800m

Low-cost airline Ryanair continues to add new routes out of Liverpool but is hampered by slow EU vaccine rollout and is expecting annual losses of up to €850m. Tony McDonough reports

Ryanair, plane, aircraft
Annual losses could hit €850m at low-cost airline Ryanair

 

Ryanair expects to report annual losses of up to €850m as it blames its delayed recovery on the slow rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in the EU.

Along with the rest of the aviation sector, Ryanair has been hit hard by the pandemic. For the full year to March 31, the Dublin-based carrier flew 27.5m passengers, a huge drop from the 149m carried in the previous year.

Prior to the pandemic the airline was one of the biggest carriers out of Liverpool John Lennon Airport, flying to more than 30 European destinations. Its schedule out of Liverpool remains much reduced but it continues to add new routes. Last week it said it will start flights to the Croatian resort of Zadar this summer.

Ryanair’s previous guidance of its expected full year losses was between €850m and €950m. However, this picture has now improved a little with the range of losses expected to be between €800m and €850m. It will publish its full-year results on May 17.

In November, Ryanair’s main low-cost rival easyJet posted the first full-year loss in its history with the deficit hitting a whopping £1.2bn. Passenger numbers plummeted 50% to 48.1m for 12 months to September 30.

However, both Ryanair and easyJet expect to emerge from the pandemic in a stronger position than many of its rivals, a number of whom have needed Government bailouts to survive the crisis. Ryanair says its balance sheet remains strong with year-end cash reserves of €3.15bn.

READ MORE: Loganair rescues Liverpool route axed by Ryanair

In its latest trading statement, Ryanair said: “Easter travel restrictions/lockdowns and a delayed traffic recovery into the peak summer 2021 season, due to the slow rollout in the EU of Covid-19 vaccines, means that full-year 20222 traffic is likely to be towards the lower end of our previously guided range of 80m to 120m passengers.

“While it is not possible (at this time) to provide meaningful all year 2022 profit guidance, we do not share the recent optimism of certain analysts as we believe that the outcome is currently close to breakeven.”

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