LONDON — Low-cost airline Ryanair said Monday that it’s still facing a “challenging” environment and that it might finish the fiscal year “somewhere between a small loss and breakeven” as Covid-19 restrictions linger.
The Irish firm reported a 273 million euro ($322 million) loss for the period between April and June, as lockdowns meant most flights over the Easter period were canceled and with European nations being cautious over the easing of travel restrictions. The figure beat a forecast from analysts which was compiled by the company.
In comparison, the airline posted a 185 million euro loss over the same first-quarter period a year ago.
“Covid-19 continued to wreak havoc on our business,” Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said in a statement Monday.
At the same time, operating costs also increased, deteriorating the company’s balance sheet. Over the year to June, costs rose by 116%, driven mostly by fuel, airport and route charges.
However, O’Leary expects traffic to pick up in the coming weeks.
“We expect traffic to rise from over 5 million in June to almost 9 million in July, and over 10 million in August, as long as there are no further Covid setbacks in Europe,” he said.
However, the outlook is highly dependent on the pandemic and successful vaccination campaigns. According to Our World in Data, in the European Union 46% of the adult population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19. In the U.K., that number is 54.4%.
Ryanair shares are up 42% from a year ago. They traded 2.5% higher in early European deals Monday on the back of the results.
“Ryanair is still at the mercy of the virus and, although a recovery is materializing, the group noted that travel within Europe will be depressed for the foreseeable future,” Laura Hoy, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said via email.
“We’re encouraged by the group’s progress, but it may have to toe the precarious line between low fares and high costs for some time.”