Ryanair faces ‘most challenging’ quarter in history

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by German Press Agency – DPA
Ryanair passenger jets sit on the tarmac at the Dublin airport, March 23, 2020.(AFP Photo)

Low-cost Irish carrier Ryanair on Monday reported a first-quarter net loss in a business period it said was “the most challenging in Ryanair’s 35-year history” and unfolded against the economic backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.

The net loss of 185 million euros ($216 million) in the April-to-June period, compared with a net profit of 243 million euros in the corresponding period a year ago.

Revenue plunged 95% to 125 million euros in the quarter that ended on June 30. Cost-saving measures could not offset the revenue loss. A year ago, the airline’s revenues were 2.31 billion euros.

The company noted that more than 99% of its fleet was grounded from mid-March to the end of June amid travel bans introduced across Europe due to the pandemic. It flew 500,000 passengers, compared with last year’s 41.5 million passengers.

Ryanair on July 1 resumed flights across most of its route network and expected demand to slowly rise in the coming months, saying it hoped to reach 70% of its normal schedule in September.

The airline expected a “very challenging year,” adding that “a second wave of COVID-19 cases across Europe in late autumn (when the annual flu season commences) is our biggest fear right now.”

Ryanair also repeated recent criticism of various European government bailout schemes to flag carriers, including Alitalia, Air France/KLM and Lufthansa.

The low-cost carrier, which has not received similar financial support, said the schemes “distort competition and allow unsustainable flag carriers to engage in below cost selling for many years to come.”

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