Ryanair falls into loss and says period ahead will be hugely challenging

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Ryanair PLC (LON:RYA) has posted an interim loss as coronavirus (COVID-10) restrictions meant passenger numbers fell by 80% during the first half of its latest financial year.

The summer months are normally when the Irish airline makes all of its money, but this time revenues in the six months to end-September, 2020, fell by 78% to €1.1bn pushing the group into an after-tax deficit of €197mln (2019: €1.15bn profit).

Ryanair noted that it had its entire fleet grounded from mid-March to the end of June as a result of coronavirus measures.

Passenger confidence has also been affected by recent quarantine and flight restrictions in central Europe, it said.

Ryanair added that the second half of the year will continue to be ‘hugely challenging’ and it cannot give exact guidance though it expects higher losses than those seen in the first six months.

The airline has said already that it expects to carry only 38mln  passengers over the full year though this although this guidance could be further revised downwards if there are more lockdown and travel restrictions.

Ryanair noted that its cost base was reduced by 67% in the first half to €1.35bn, while it expects to receive its first Boeing 737-Max-200 aircraft early in 2021 and to have 30 in operation by the peak of the summer.

As at the end of September 2020, Ryanair said it had U€4.5bn cash.

 “As we look beyond the Covid-19 crisis, and the emergence of effective vaccines in early 2021, the Ryanair Group expects to have a lower cost base, a stronger balance sheet, which will enable it to fund lower fares, and add new lower-cost aircraft to capitalise on the many growth opportunities that will be available in all markets across Europe,” the airline said in the results statement.

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