Ryanair expected to return to profitability, but cautious on outlook

Ryanair forecast a return to “reasonable” profitability next year as the travel industry recovers from the pandemic, but warned that the outlook for flying remained fragile and vulnerable to new shocks.

The Irish airline posted a loss of 355 million euros in the 12 months to the end of March, near the lower end of its previous guidance range of 350 million to 400 million euros and down from 1.015 billion euros last year.

The low-cost carrier’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, said on Monday that he expects the airline to carry more passengers this summer than 2019, reflecting the escalation of travel restrictions across Europe. Relax, the “pent-up” need for flying.

But he warned that “we expect fares and fuel costs for these flights to be lower than they were before the pandemic,” reflecting the delicate state of the industry more than two years after the outbreak.

Ryanair said passengers were still booking closer to flights than normal, compared to pre-pandemic normal.

Prices have remained low this quarter to encourage travel as the effects of the Omicron coronavirus variant linger and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine hit demand.

The airline said it expects to carry more passengers than the pre-Covid record of 149 million for the current financial year, which begins in early April.

The airline failed to give a financial outlook, saying: “It is currently impractical, if not impossible, to provide a reasonable or accurate profit guidance range.”

Shares in the Dublin-based group have fallen more than 10% this year.

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