LONDON – Ryanair Holdings (FR) has posted a full-year loss of €815m, compared with a previous-year profit of €1,002m. FY21 traffic fell 81% from 149 million to 27.5 million due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The airline list the following summary for FY21:

  • Liquidity preservation prioritised with €3.15bn cash at year end (31 Mar.).
  • Cost reductions implemented across all Group airlines.
  • Unprecedented backlog of Covid customer requests/refunds processed.
  • Job losses minimised via engagement with our people & unions.
  • 737-8200 “Gamechanger” firm order increased to 210 aircraft (from 135).
  • CDP awarded very strong (first time) “B-” climate protection score.
  • Non-EU shareholder voting rights were restricted post Brexit.
One of the largest operator in the history. Ryanair’s Boeing 737-8AS taking off from Milan Bergamo airport from Runway 28. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways

COVID-19


The carrier states in the report that the 2021 full-year was the most challenging for FR after 35 years of activity. COVID-19 made FR passenger numbers collapse overnight, from 149 million to just 27.5 million, thanks to short notice or coordination, impose flight bans, travel restrictions, and national blocks.

During the summer of 2020, there had been a small recovery but with the arrival of the second and third waves of the virus, huge disruptions were seen, and uncertainty for both customers and FR staff loomed due to constant change from government’s guidelines, travel bans and restrictions.

If most European populations will be vaccinated by September, FR believes it can expect a strong recovery in air travel, employment and tourism in the second half of the current fiscal year (FY22). The recent increase in weekly bookings since the beginning of April suggests that this recovery has already begun, according to the airline.

The airline is launching new routes in preparation for a busy summer, with the Teesside to Faro route operating twice weekly from June 16 and the Manchester to Verona route operating twice weekly from July.

Ryanair’s director of commercial, Jason McGuinness. said that as vaccine rollout programs continue in the coming months and the summer season approaches, FR was pleased to announce this new route from Manchester to Verona, set operate twice weekly from July as part of our UK summer’21 schedule.

Ryanair Boeing 737-8AS in Naples Capodichino Airport Photo: Marco Macca

Revenue and costs


FY21 revenue fell by 81% to €1.64bn, in line with the fall in traffic to just 27.5m from 149m (pre Covid-19).
Ancillary revenue delivered a solid performance as more guests chose priority boarding and reserved seating, resulting in an 11% increase in per passenger spend to almost €22. FY21 cost performance was strong, falling 66%.

Due to an 81% reduction in traffic and aircraft delivery delays, the Group recorded a €200m ineffectiveness charge on fuel and currency hedges in FY21.

Ryanair’s continued to work with airport across Europe by negotiating lower airport costs, traffic recovery incentives and the extension of many low-cost airport offers – including, for example, extensions of long-term low-cost growth agreements in London Stansted (STD) until 2028, Milan Bergamo (BGY) until 2028, and Brussels Charleroi (CRL) until 2030.

In December, the Group increased its firm order for the Boeing 737- 8200 Gamechanger from 135 to 210 aircraft, ensuring further, modest, price discounts. However, despite regulators certifying the high-density variant in early April, FR blasted Boeing for delaying the delivery of the first of 210.

According to airlineweekly.com, the European low-cost carrier now claims that it has little faith in Boeing’s ability to deliver any of the planes in time for the anticipated summer increase in demand.

“We are quite upset with Boeing that eight weeks later we’re still waiting for the first delivery.” Michael O’Leary, Ryanair Group CEO Click To Tweet
Ryanair Boeing 737-8AS at Naples International Airport (NAP). Photo: ©Marco Macca – @aviator_ita

Balance Sheet and Liquidity Still Strong


The carrier’s balance sheet remains one of the strongest in the industry with a BBB credit rating (S&P and Fitch), €3.15bn cash on March 31, and over 85% of the Boeing 737 fleet being unencumbered. Also, since March 2020, the Group has lowered cash burn by cutting costs, participating in the EU’s payroll support schemes, canceling share buybacks, and deferring non-essential capex.

Finally, over the past year, the Group successfully raised €1.95bn in new finance (including a €400m share placing, an €850m Eurobond, and a £600m CCFF), and cash was further boosted by supplier reimbursements during the year. This financial strength enables the Group to capitalize on the many growth opportunities that will be available post-Covid-19.


Featured image: Test flight for a brand new Ryanair Boeing 737 MAX 8-200. Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways