Ryanair dives into first-quarter loss on virus fallout

LONDON (AFP) – Irish no-frills airline Ryanair nosedived into the red in the first quarter, as the coronavirus pandemic decimated air travel demand and grounded fleets worldwide, the group said yesterday.

Dublin-based Ryanair suffered a loss after taxation of EUR185 million (USD216 million) in the three months to the end of June, or first quarter of its financial year, compared with net profit of EUR243 million in the same part of 2019, it said in a statement.

Passenger numbers fell by 99 per cent to just 0.5 million people compared with 42 million a year earlier, while more than 99 per cent of the airline’s fleet remained on the tarmac.

“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 European Union (EU) governments imposed flight or travel bans and widespread population lockdowns,” the carrier said in a statement.

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

Ryanair passenger jets on the tarmac at Dublin airport. PHOTO: AFP