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Ryanair predicts 'strong recovery in air travel' as it suffers €815m loss

·2-min read
BRUSSELS, April 19, 2021 -- A Ryanair flight front lands while a Brussels airlines flight takes off at the Brussels Airport in Zaventem, Belgium, April 19, 2021. Belgium on Monday ended its ban on non-essential travel within the European Union EU. (Photo by Zheng Huansong/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Zheng Huansong via Getty Images)
Pre-COVID, Ryanair had consistently been making over €1bn in profit. Photo: Zheng Huansong/Xinhua via Getty

Following what Ryanair (RYA.L) has called the "most challenging year in its 35-year history", the airline's final results on Monday showed it suffered a full-year €815m (£701m, $989.3m) loss. 

Pre-COVID, the budget carrier had consistently been making over €1bn in operating profit. 

This was a result of COVID restrictions causing traffic to plummet 81% from 149 million passengers to 27.5 million. Alongside this there was an "unprecedented" backlog of cancellation refunds. 

The company said that it has reduced its costs across all group airlines and job losses were minimised via engagement with staff and unions. 

Read more: EasyJet C-suite due for shakeup amid recovery hopes

Ryanair stock moved 2.3% higher at the opening bell in London following the report. 

Ryanair five-day look. Chart: Yahoo Finance UK
Ryanair five-day look. Chart: Yahoo Finance UK

"Ryanair, like its ultra-low-cost peer Wizz Air, weathered the crisis far better than its legacy counterparts. It also stands ready to hoover up the pent-up demand for foreign holidays we're about to see as rules on international travel finally ease," said Jack Winchester, analyst at Third Bridge.

Watch: Ryanair predicts strong recovery in travel 

"While Lufthansa, IAG and Air France KLM all struggled under the weight of huge hub-and-spoke airline operations, Ryanair’s point-to-point model meant it was able to adapt faster and more fully to a historic year of low demand."

Winchester notes that legacy flag carriers received more robust state support during the coronavirus crisis. 

Read more: Britons to spend £2.5bn as indoor hospitality reopens

As for its outlook, Ryanair expects next year to continue to be challenging "with uncertainty around when and where Covid lockdowns and travel restrictions will be eased." 

It predicts a "strong rebound in end up demand" in air travel as restrictions lift. 

As of Monday in England, people will be allowed to travel to a limited selection of "green list" countries where the virus case loads have been assessed to pose less of a threat. 

This should mean a more upbeat outlook in the travel and tourism market as a whole going forward, providing borders don't shut again and variants of the virus are kept in check. 

Watch: Should I book a holiday in 2021?

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