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Ryanair Sees 50 Percent Drop In Passenger Numbers

Low-cost carrier Ryanair published its full-year profit results on Monday. Among other things, the statement revealed that the airline’s profits had increased by 13 percent on the previous year’s takings to €1,002m ($1,094m) and that it is concentrating its efforts on keeping its operations clean and green. With 90 percent of its flights arriving on time, the airline also fared well in terms of overall punctuality.

Growth Stunted By Pandemic

Additionally, Ryanair said that its overall traffic grew during the course of the year by four percent, up to 149 million guests and that its revenue per head had also grown by six percent, increasing up to €57 ($62) per head.

It also revealed that it had opened five new bases and created 390 new routes during the course of the year.

These positive notes, however, were juxtaposed against the coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking of the impact that it has had upon its operations, Ryanair said, “Most of Ryanair’s fleet was grounded from mid-March by EU Government flight bans and restrictions. These groundings reduced our March and full year traffic by over 5m guests and cut FY20 profits by over €40m ($44m).”

The airline also advised that it could be a “difficult” 2021.

Road To Recovery Not Straightforward

Further explaining, it said, “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.”

It added that it could not offer guidance on the coming year and said that it, “…expects to record a loss of over €200m ($218m) in Q1, with a smaller loss expected in Q2 (peak summer) due to a substantial decline in traffic and pricing from Covid-19 groundings. The Group currently expects to carry less than 80m passengers in FY21 (almost 50% below its original 154m target).”

However, speaking to the BBC’s Today program, CEO Michael O’Leary confirmed that the airline would resume a large portion of its services from July. He was, however, deeply critical of the United Kingdom’s plans to implement a 14-day quarantine among in-bound air passengers.

O’Leary even went so far as to say that the quarantine policy had “no credibility” and stated that he believed that it wouldn’t be used beyond June. Offering a blunt view of the situation, O’Leary said, “It’s idiotic and it’s un-implementable. You don’t have enough police in the UK.”