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Gloucestershire Business News

Ryanair announces record annual losses

Ryanair, Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers, today reported a full year loss of €815m (£702m) for its last financial year.

The airline saw passenger numbers slump by 81 per cent from 149 million to just 27.5 million in the wake of the Covid pandemic. The results compared to a previous year profit of €1,002m.

Ryanair said bookings had started to pick up in April in anticipation of a cautious reopening of the skies but said it did not see a recovery in pre-Covid demand until the summer of 2022 assuming vaccine programmes remained on track.

The company said the past year was the most challenging in Ryanair's 35-year history.

"Covid-19 saw traffic collapse, almost overnight, from 149m to just 27.5m as many European governments (with little notice or co-ordination) imposed flight bans, travel restrictions and national lockdowns.

"There was a partial recovery during summer 2020, as initial lockdowns eased, however a second Covid-19 wave in Europe followed quickly in the autumn with a third wave in spring. This created enormous disruptions and uncertainty for both our customers and our people, as they suffered constantly changing government guidelines, travel bans and restrictions.

"Ryanair responded promptly, and effectively, to this crisis, by working hard to assist millions of customers with flight changes, refunds and changed travel plans. We minimised job losses through agreed pay cuts and participation in government job support schemes, while at the same time keeping our pilots, cabin crew and aircraft current and ready to resume service once normality returns."

The statement added: "We expect intra-European air travel capacity to be materially lower for the foreseeable future. This will create opportunities for Ryanair to extend airport growth incentives, as the Group takes delivery of 210 new (lower cost) Boeing 737s.

"We are encouraged by the recent release of multiple Covid-19 vaccines and hope that their rollout will facilitate the resumption of intra-Europe air travel and tourism this summer. 

"If, as is presently predicted, most European populations are vaccinated by Sept., then we believe that we can look forward to a strong recovery in air travel, jobs and tourism in H2 of the current fiscal year. 

"The recent strong increases in weekly bookings since early April suggests that this recovery has already begun."

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