COVID Prompts Ryanair To Lose €185 Million In Q1

Ryanair, the Irish low-cost carrier, saw a considerable loss of €185 million ($216 million) for the first quarter of its financial year. The decline comes as the airline carried just 500,000 passengers across the quarter, down from 41.9 million in the same period last year.

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Ryanair has posted a €185 million loss for Q1. Photo: Getty Images

Many airlines across the industry have been forced to make changes to deal with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. While things do look to be recovering, on the whole, there is still a long way to go until we’re out of the woods.

Ryanair’s Q1 loss

Ryanair has just revealed its financial results for the first quarter of 2020, and it shows that the airline experienced a substantial loss. For the first quarter of the year (April to June), the low-cost carrier posted a loss of €185 million. This saw a big u-turn compared to the same period last year when the airline saw a profit after tax of €243 million ($284 million).

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The airline saw its revenue drop by 95% to just €125 million ($146 million), which was primarily driven by a massive fall in passenger numbers. In fact, in the quarter, Ryanair flew just half a million passengers. All in all, the airline’s load factor only fell by 35% to 61% as a result of the cancellation of all but 20 essential routes from the UK and Ireland.

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The airline resumed 40% of its services on the first day of Q2. Photo: Getty Images

Getting back to business

Almost a month ago, Ryanair relaunched flights to a vast majority of its destinations. Across July, the Irish LCC expects to operate around 40% of its pre-COVID schedule. On July 1st, the airline was mostly ready to return to the skies thanks to a program of medical aid, repatriation, and ghost flights, which kept both aircraft and crew current. The airline even flew to West Africa for a privately chartered repatriation flight.

As restrictions relax, and travel becomes more acceptable, this is expected to rise. Indeed, the airline hopes to operate 60% of its schedule in August, rising to 70% in September.

What does the future hold?

As with many airlines, Ryanair has been rather tight-lipped about what the future holds. After all, nobody knows. Indeed, in March, the airline’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, told Simple Flying that he expected the virus’ spread to slow down after Easter.

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The airline canceled a massive number of flights due to the crisis. Photo: Getty Images

Concerning its return to service, the airline’s most significant challenge at present is the risk of a second wave of COVID-19 cases across Europe. For example, we have already seen the United Kingdom remove Spain from its quarantine free travel list as a result of an increase in cases.

What we do know is that Ryanair expects to carry some 60 million passengers during the whole financial year, with losses decreasing in Q2.

What do you think the future holds for Ryanair? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!