Ryanair says second spike is 'biggest fear' amid £168m lockdown loss

27 July 2020, 06:58

The airline saw revenue drop due to worldwide coronavirus restrictions
The airline saw revenue drop due to worldwide coronavirus restrictions. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Ryanair has reported a loss of £168 million over the past three months which bosses have branded the "most challenging" period in the company's 35 year history.

The budget airline has suffered due to the impact of Covid-19 with chaos for timetables and flights as travel bans and lockdown were imposed across the globe.

The airline has said its "biggest fear" was a second wave of the virus further plunging air travel into uncertainty.

It comes just one day after Spain was added to the UK's 'risk-list' meaning travellers returning from the country will need to self-isolate for two weeks after a spike in cases in the country.

Read more: Brits rush to cancel holidays amid quarantine concerns

Worldwide lockdown rules saw the company carry just 500,000 travellers in the first quarter of 2020 compared with 41.9 million in the same period last year.

This caused revenue to drop from £2.1 billion to £113 million.

Government defends Spain quarantine move

Read more: UK adds Spain to quarantine list - Everything holidaymakers need to know

The company said: "The past quarter was the most challenging in Ryanair's 35-year history.

"Covid-19 grounded the group's fleet for almost four months (from mid-March to end June) as EU governments imposed flight or travel bans and widespread population lockdowns.

"During this time, group airlines repatriated customers and operated rescue flights for different EU governments, as well as flying a series of medical emergency/PPE flights across Europe."

RyanAir Executive explains how flying now will be different

Flights were resumed on July 1, and the company said it aimed to operate around 40% of its normal July schedule, increasing to 60% in August and 70% in September.

Ryanair Holdings plc said it expected air travel to be depressed in Europe for the next two to three years, adding: "This will create opportunities for Ryanair to grow its network, and expand its fleet, to take advantage of lower airport and aircraft cost opportunities that will inevitably arise."

It added that it could not provide any guidance for profits in this financial year, but added that it expected to carry 60 million passengers this year.

It said: "FY21 will be a very challenging year for the Ryanair Group of airlines.

"It is impossible to predict how long the Covid-19 pandemic will persist, and a second wave of Covid-19 cases across Europe in late autumn (when the annual flu season commences) is our biggest fear right now.

"Hopefully EU governments, by implementing effective track and tracing systems, and EU citizens by complying with recommended face masks, rigorous hand hygiene and other measures, will avoid the need for further lockdowns or restrictions on intra-EU flights.

"It is vital that European economies begin the process of recovery this summer to minimise the damage arising from the Covid-19 pandemic and this recovery can only be led by intra-EU air travel which is the engine of EU growth and economic activity."