Ryanair has reported a loss of €96m for the three months to 31 December 2021, down from a loss of €321m in the same period in 2020, as the aviation sector continues to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Its passenger numbers jumped 286pc year-on-year to 31.1 million for the three month period, according to an update from the airline.
Ryanair’s load factor – that is the percentage of seats filled on its aircraft – stood at 84pc for the quarter.
Revenue for the three months was €1.47bn, up 136pc year-on-year.
However, December traffic slowed to 9.5 million, behind the airline’s expected target of 11 million passengers, as the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 impacted travel.
January capacity was cut by 33pc in late December, which lowered the January traffic target from 10 million to between six million and seven million customers.
The airline said its fuel requirements are almost fully hedged for the fourth quarter of its financial year to 31 March.
The company had almost €3bn in cash on its balance sheet at the end of 2021.
Ryanair said the strength of its balance sheet “ensures that the group is well poised to capitalise rapidly on the many growth opportunities that exist in Europe into the post Covid-19 recovery in 2022 and 2023.”
Looking forward, the airline said that while recent bookings have improved, the booking curve remains very late and close-in.
Over the next three months the airline’s passenger traffic will require “significant price stimulation at lower prices” to quickly recover load factors, which were impacted due to the Omicron collapse in bookings over the Christmas/New Year period.
Ryanair said its full year traffic forecast remains unchanged at ‘just under’ 100 million passengers.
However, due to Covid uncertainty the financial year 2022 net loss guidance remains within a wider than normal range of €250m to €450m.
“This outturn is hugely sensitive to any further positive or negative Covid news flow,” it added.