Ryanair nosedives to €185m loss after air travel collapses
RYANAIR plunged to a €185m (£169m) loss in what bosses said was its toughest quarter for more than three decades, after a collapse in global air travel.
The low-cost airline also warned that a second wave of coronavirus cases in Europe could delay any hope of a recovery until next year. Europe’s biggest carrier was forced to ground 99pc of its fleet in the three months to June as the industry was battered by Covid-19.
Michael O’Leary, its chief executive, warned of more cuts to jobs and pay if the virus continued to depress demand. He said: “We cannot rule out that there will not be further pay cuts and job losses if things get worse.”
Sweeping restrictions meant that Ryanair carried just 500,000 passengers in its first quarter, compared with 41.9m in the same period last year. Revenue plummeted from £2.1bn to £113m.
The Dublin-based company said: “The past quarter was the most challenging in Ryanair’s 35-year history.
“Covid-19 grounded the group’s fleet for almost four months (from midMarch to end June) as EU governments imposed flight or travel bans and widespread population lockdowns.
“It is impossible to predict how long the Covid-19 pandemic will persist, and a second wave of Covid-19 cases across Europe in late autumn, when the annual flu season commences, is our biggest fear right now.”
It came as the travel industry was dealt a fresh blow after Spain was placed on the UK’s quarantine list over the weekend, with fears that other countries could soon be added.
Speaking on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, Neil Sorahan, Ryanair’s finance chief, said the decision was regrettable but there had so far been few cancellations.
The carrier has been a high-profile critic of quarantine plans and has threatened to sue the Irish government over its travel restrictions.
Ryanair did not provide any guidance for profits in the current financial year, but said it expected to carry 60m passengers. The company said it had more than €3.9bn in cash at the end of June.
Shares in the firm fell nearly 4pc.
Michael O’Leary, the Ryanair chief executive, said he could not rule out further job cuts