Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary has refused to be drawn on a fiscal year 2021 passenger forecast but expects Q2 (July – September) load factors to be no more than 50% of the original traffic target of 44.6 million.
In a call to analysts following the release of the low-cost carrier’s full-year 2020 results, O’Leary declined to provide a pax estimate but said it would carry less than 80 million – nearly 50% below its 154 million target.
He judged Ryanair losses in fiscal Q1 (April – June) to be in the region of €200m ahead of a July resumption of flights on a reduced capacity, as reported.
QUARANTINE PLANS ‘NONSENSICAL’
Encouragingly, bookings were up a reported 60% over the weekend compared to the previous weekend, albeit from a low base, with O’Leary pointing to aggressive price stimulation across the industry as ‘reasonable’ relaxations in travel restrictions take place.
“I think you are going to see enormous cost opportunities for the next four to five years and Ryanair is well positioned to take advantage,” he said. “I think we’ll see a strong return to passenger volumes in a weakened pricing environment.”
Plans to implement a 14-day quarantine in countries including the UK were again criticised by O’Leary as ‘nonsensical’ and ‘bonkers’.
Ancillary revenue in full-year 2020 was up 20% to €2.9 billion as more passengers opted for Priority Boarding and Preferred Seat Services. Revenue per guest lifted 6% to €57.
In October, Ryanair introduced a new digital platform featuring improved, personalised guest offers.
“This bedded down well in Q4, prior to Covid-19 groundings, with Ryanair Labs focusing on improved penetration across core ancillary products,” said Ryanair.
Full-year profits in 2019 were up 13% to €1bn against a traffic rise of 4% to 149 million. Sales rose by 10% to €8.5bn.
Most of its fleet remains grounded after EU government flight bans and restrictions kicked in from mid-March, reducing full-year traffic by more than five million guests.
“FY21 will be difficult for the Ryanair Group as its airlines work hard to return to scheduled flying following the Covid-19 crisis,” added the carrier.
“Unlike many flag carrier competitors, Ryanair will not request or receive state aid. Consultations about base closures, pay cuts of up to 20%, unpaid leave and up to 3,000 job cuts (mainly pilots and cabin crew) are underway with our people and our unions.”