Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair has today reported a post-tax profit of one billion euros for the year ending March 31. However, it said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic it was unable to provide a forecast for the coming year.
While not really knowing and just plucking numbers out of the air, the Dublin-headquartered airline said that it expects to fly around 80 million passengers during the current year. This figure is down from the 100 million passengers the airline predicted last week and a long way off its original target of 154 million.
Ryanair is just guessing
While speaking with Ireland’s national television and radio broadcaster RTE, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary admitted that all he could do right now was guess how busy the airline would be.
“For the next 12 months, it’s obviously impossible for us to today to give you any guidance on either traffic numbers or on profits,” O’Leary said in a video presentation.
“We have no idea because it is entirely subject to passenger numbers, yields, and the lifting of government restrictions,” he added.
The budget airline also gave warning that it would be looking to streamline its operations by pulling out of some European airports. The 59-year-old airline executive said that it would start with its loss-making bases in the United Kingdom, Spain, and Germany. From there, it would then turn its attention to its Italian, Belgian, and Eastern European hubs.
Ryanair plans to cut staff
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has grounded many airlines around the world, Ryanair is using it as an excuse to cut staffing levels and save money wherever it can. It has already announced that 250 jobs will be lost at the company’s offices in Dublin, Stansted, Madrid, and Wroclaw, Poland. Along with the office jobs, the airline could lay off as many as 3,000 pilots and cabin crew.
According to O’Leary, Ryanair is expecting to post a loss of just over two million euros during April, May, and June and then either break even or record a small decline in July, August and September.
Ryanair plans to discount tickets heavily
While admitting he did not know how the public would take to flying again once the coronavirus crisis has passed, O’Leary expects deep discounting by Ryanair to get people flying.
Just last week, the airline said that it expects to see a significant demand for tickets in the coming weeks as people who have been cooped up in their homes for the past couple of months start looking for a getaway. To back this up, Ryanair has said that it has seen a considerable uptick in web traffic looking at summer sun destinations.
Not happy with the way the British government has handled the coronavirus, O’Leary told the BBC that the plan for a 14-day quarantine was “idiotic and is un-implementable.”
While we still do not know what the rules will be when European airlines start flying again, many people have begun planning their summer holidays but have not purchased tickets.
Are you planning on jetting off somewhere this summer, or do you think it is too early to be flying? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments.