Travel: Ryanair CEO discusses passengers wearing masks
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The low-cost airline said the bloc’s slow recovery from the coronavirus pandemic had delayed a revival in passenger numbers ahead of the summer holidays season. It said the “slow rollout in the EU of COVID-19 vaccines” means passenger traffic will be lower than expected. The carrier has now downgraded traffic forecasts in the year, ending March 2022, to the lower end of a previous estimation of between 80 million and 120 million.
Ryanair said: “While it is not possible at this time to provide meaningful full-year 2022 profit guidance, we do not share the recent optimism of certain analysts.”
The firm warned that some analysts predicting the carrier would return a profit over the next year were too optimistic, adding it expected to approximately break even.
According to Bloomberg, some experts are forecasting a profit after tax of £240 million.
Last month Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary was more optimistic, predicting summer travel across Europe would return soon.
He said his airline would be flying 80 percent of its normal schedules by June.
The airline carried an average of 2.28 million passengers per month in the 2021 financial year, compared to 12.4 million a month in 2020.
As a result, the carrier has posted an estimated loss for the previous financial year of £86.5 million.
Analysts believe Ryanair will be in a strong position to bounce back from the health crisis because of its low-cost base and strong balance sheet.
But for now, the airline remains dangerously exposed to the travel restrictions and rising coronavirus infections across much of continental Europe.
The UK Government is also being cautious with reopening its borders, which are closed until May 17 at the earliest.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week warned Britons it was still too early to book a summer holiday.
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Analyst Mark Simpson, at Goodbody, said: “The current delay on UK Government travel guidance is playing havoc with airline planning.”
As a result of global lockdown measures, most airlines have been cautious with announcing their summer plans.
British Airways boss Sean Doyle said his carrier would wait for further guidance from Downing Street before releasing summer flight schedules.
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He was joined by chiefs from Virgin Atlantic and Heathrow Airport calling on No10 to broker a quarantine-free corridor with the United States to help relaunch international travel.
“There is a great opportunity here to focus on the corridor between the US and the UK . . . the US has a hugely successful vaccination programme,” said Shai Weiss, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic.
Mr Doyle added: “If we can create a framework for travel between the UK and US, and open up that market, that would set a benchmark that others could follow.”
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