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Ryanair warns of soaring losses as it faces ‘difficult’ year

Ryanair jets parked up on the runway of Dublin airport (Niall Carson/PA)
Ryanair jets parked up on the runway of Dublin airport (Niall Carson/PA)

Ryanair has said it expects passenger numbers to almost halve in the current financial year as it warns that it faces a “difficult” year ahead following the impact of coronavirus.

It came as the company reported a 13% increase in profits to one billion euro (£890 million) for the year ending March, but expects to deliver significant losses in the current quarter.

The discount airliner said it saw an increase in passengers for the full year but has so far operated less than 1% of its scheduled flights since the start of April.

It also told investors that it has sufficient funds to “weather Covid-19 and emerge stronger when the crisis passes”.

Ryanair is currently in the midst of consultations over base closures, up to 3,000 job cuts – mainly affecting pilots and cabin crew – and pay cuts as it looks to keep its costs low in the face of coronavirus.

The Irish carrier said it nevertheless expects to post a loss of more than 200 million euro (£178 million) for the quarter to the end of June.

It said it expects this to be followed a smaller loss in the second quarter amid a “substantial decline in traffic and pricing” due to the coronavirus groundings.

It comes after profits jumped in the previous full year, as it reported a 10% increase in revenues to 8.4 billion euro (£7.6 billion).

Ryanair said it expects passenger numbers for the current year to be “less than 80 million” after reducing its target of 100 million given last week, and significantly lower than its original target of 154 million.

In a statement, Ryanair said: “Full year 2021 will be difficult for the Ryanair Group as its airlines work hard to return to scheduled flying following the Covid-19 crisis.

“As we look beyond the next year, there will be significant opportunities for Ryanair’s low cost, growth model as competitors shrink, fail or are acquired by government bailed out carriers.”