Low-fares airline Ryanair has reduced its loss forecast in respect of the 12 months to March 31 this year.
Ryanair has said it expects to report a loss of between €800m and €850m in its financial year 2021.
In February the airline said it expected to report a loss of between of between €850m and €950m for the period, in what it said would be “the most challenging year in Ryanair’s 35 year history.”
The Ryanair Group's full-year traffic was 27.5 million for the 12 months to March 31, down from 149 million in its financial year 2020, which ended at the early stages of Covid-19 restrictions across Europe.
The airline’s passenger numbers were impacted over the last 12 months by Covid-19 travel restrictions.
Year-end cash at 31 March was over €3.15bn, down from €3.5bn in December.
In a statement today the airline said Easter travel restrictions and a delayed traffic recovery into the peak summer season means that financial year 2022 traffic is likely to be towards the lower end of its previously guided range of 80 million to 120 million passengers.
Ryanair said that while it is not possible at this time to provide meaningful profit guidance in respect of its financial year 2022, “we do not share the recent optimism of certain analysts as we believe that the outcome for FY22 is currently close to breakeven.”
Since March last year the group has lowered cash burn by cutting costs, participating in EU Government payroll support schemes, cancelling share buybacks and deferring non-essential capital expenditure.
The group also raised funds through a €400m share placing and an €850m Eurobond in September.
On Tuesday Ryanair blasted a €4bn bailout package that will leave the French government as the biggest shareholder in Air France-KLM, saying it will damage competition in the air transport market for decades.
Eighteen slots at Paris Orly airport that Air France must give up as a condition of the deal “is nowhere near enough” to allow others challenge the French airline’s dominance of Paris, Ryanair said.
The French government will contribute to a €4bn recapitalisation of Air France-KLM and more than double its stake to nearly 30pc, under plans announced yesterday with European Union approval.
The move is the latest by a major airline group to shore up finances after more than a year of Covid-19 travel shutdowns and deep losses for the sector.
France will convert a €3bn loan granted last year into a perpetual hybrid bond instrument and subscribe to a €1bn share issue, raising its stake in Air France-KLM from the current 14.3pc.
“This will make the state Air France’s biggest shareholder,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said, describing the step as a “sign of commitment” to the airline and its workers.
Air France will give up 18 Paris-Orly take-off and landing slots to competitors,amounting to 4pc of its current portfolio at the airport.
But the reallocation will be restricted to Orly-based rival aircraft with crews employed on local contracts – freezing out Irish and other European airlines.
Ryanair will announce its results for financial year 2021 on May 17.
(Additional reporting Reuters)