Ryanair nose­dives to €185m loss af­ter air travel col­lapses

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Si­mon Foy

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

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