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Ryanair pares losses in 2022, predicts return to profit next year


Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary

Ryanair has reported a loss of €355m in the year to March 31, with traffic still 35pc below pre-Covid levels.

It compares to a previous year loss of just over €1bn.

While chief Executive Michael O’Leary said there were still “significant risks” from Covid and Russia’s war in Ukraine, the low-cost carrier expects to return to profit in 2023.

But he said profit guidance had been made “impractical (if not impossible) to give due to Covid and geopolitical uncertainty”.

Ryanair plans to grow full-year 2023 traffic to 165 million passengers, up from 97 million in 2022 (and 149 million pre-Covid).

Summer 2022 capacity is at 115pc of pre-Covid levels.

Pent-up demand should lead to peak summer fares this year rising ahead of pre-pandemic levels, Ryanair said in its full-year results to March on Monday.

Average fares fell 27pc to just €27 due to Covid and the Ukraine invasion.

While 80pc of Ryanair’s fuel requirements are hedged well below current spot prices, the remaining 20pc of unhedged fuel could lead to “unbudgeted cost increases”.

The carrier has added 15 new bases over the last year, 770 new routes and extended several low-cost long term-growth deals in Europe and the UK.

It has based a record 33 aircraft in Dublin for the summer season, launching its biggest ever Dublin summer schedule. Ryanair has grown its market share across Europe to almost 40pc in Italy, 55pc in Ireland and 35pc in Poland.

During the past year, Ryanair boosted EU ownership from 32pc to around 41pc and delisted from the London Stock Exchange to comply with post-Brexit EU aviation ownership rules.

“We hope to return to reasonable profitability in FY23,” Mr O’Leary said.

“This recovery, however, remains fragile. This was clearly evidenced by the sudden, and unexpected, emergence of the Omicron variant pre-Christmas and the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, both of which immediately damaged close-in bookings and yields for the Christmas and Easter peak travel periods. “

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Mr O’Leary also hit out in the results at the“tsunami” of state aid to “insolvent” airlines such as Alitalia, Air France/KLM, Iberia, LOT, Lufthansa, SAS and TAP “will distort EU competition and prop up high cost, inefficient, flag carriers for some years”.

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