| 21 May 2024, Tuesday |

Ryanair recovery continues despite more losses

Ryanair has recovered from the Covid-19 breakdown in air travel, but the airline still expects a substantial loss for the year.

The airline has diminished losses in the past few months, but warned its annual deficit could hit €200m (£170m).

Boss Michael O’Leary told the BBC the industry was seeing a “very strong recovery” across Europe. However, he said substantial price discounting would be required to fill aircraft this winter.

The recent school holidays had seen Ryanair “full to the gills as people got a last bit of sun”, Mr O’Leary said. But that did not mean the hit to the industry from the coronavirus pandemic was over, he added.

The Irish airline registered an after-tax loss of €48m for the 6 months to September, which compared with a loss after tax of €411m a year earlier.

Europe’s largest budget airline carried 39.1 million passengers in the six months ended September, 54% fewer than in the same period of 2019.

Ryanair is likely to make of loss of between €100m-200m for the full year, but O’Leary said the guidance could not be more specific because there was still “little visibility” on ticket prices and recovery.

But he said the post-pandemic recovery offered the best growth opportunities of his 3-decade career. In September, Ryanair lifted its passenger growth target. The airline now anticipates to fly 225 million passengers a year by 2026, up from 200 million previously forecast.

The airline repeated it expects to return to pre-Covid profitability in the year ending March 2023.