Ryanair loses €185m in Q1 2020 as 99pc of flights never leave the runway

27 Jul 2020

Image: © Stefano Garau/Stock.adobe.com

Q1 2020 was reportedly the ‘most challenging in Ryanair’s 35-year history’ as passenger numbers dropped to just 500,000.

Ryanair has published the results of its Q1 2020 earnings, showing a loss of €185m from the start of April to the end of June.

In the same period last year, the airline made a net profit of €243m. However, since passenger numbers fell by 99pc – dropping from 42m in 2019 to 500,000 in 2020 – just 1pc of its planes took off during the quarter.

According to Forbes, between 10 and 20 Ryanair flights are operating each day instead of its typical 2,400. Despite budgeting for 64,000 flights in March, only 33,000 took place.

The loss wasn’t as bad as predicted in market expectations, however, and in April 2020, the company said it was still confident it would come out of its 2020 financial year with a profit of €1bn.

Following it latest results, Ryanair said its “biggest fear” is a “second wave of Covid-19 cases across Europe in late autumn”.

“The past quarter was the most challenging in Ryanair’s 35-year history,” Ryanair said in a statement. “Covid-19 grounded the group’s fleet for almost four months, from mid-March to the end of June, as EU governments imposed flight or travel bans and widespread population lockdowns.

“During this time, group airlines repatriated customers and operated rescue flights for different EU governments, as well as flying a series of medical emergency/PPE flights across Europe.”

The next 12 months, the company said, “will be a very challenging year”, as it expects traffic to drop by 60pc. It referenced its “much lower cost base” as its ticket to emerging from the economic hardship ahead of its competitors.

During its first quarter, according to CNBC, it cut down costs by 85pc. This involved negotiating pay cuts with Ryanair staff members.

How the rest of the company’s 2020 fiscal year plays out will also heavily depend on Brexit, it said: “The challenge of Brexit and, in particular, a no-deal Brexit, remains high.

“We hope, before the end of the transition period in December, that the UK and Europe will agree a trade deal for air travel, which will allow the free movement of people and the deregulated airline market between the UK and Ireland to continue.”

Lisa Ardill was careers editor at Silicon Republic until June 2021