Ryanair Holdings has reported a first-half loss of €197m due to the impacts of Covid-19.

    In the same period of 2019, it reported a €1.15 billion profit, and a 80 per cent decrease in passengers from the previous year.

    In its statement, it said that 99 per cent of its fleet was grounded from mid-March until the end of June, but traffic fell from 86 million to 17 million and revenue by 78 per cent.

    It said: “Passenger confidence and forward bookings into winter 2020 were negatively impacted by the return of uncoordinated EU Government flight restrictions in September and October which heavily curtailed travel to and from much of Central Europe, the UK, Ireland, Austria, Belgium and Portugal.

    “As a result, Ryanair recently cut its FY21 traffic guidance to approximately 38million guests. This takes the Group’s winter 2020 (Nov-Mar) capacity down from the previously guided 60 per cent to at most 40 per cent of prior year traffic.”

    It also said it was committed to the Boeing 737-max when it returns and expects to receive delivery of its first one in 2021. “We remain committed to the Boeing 737, particularly the new 200 series “gamechanger” aircraft which have 4 per cent more seats, 16 per cent lower fuel burn and 40 per cent lower noise emissions,” it said.

    “These new aircraft will enable Ryanair to grow to 200m passengers p.a. over the next 5 or 6 years while lowering the cost base and significantly reducing its environmental footprint.

    Brexit is also looming for the airline, and says that a risk of a no-deal is high, which would adversely affect the industry.

    “We hope, before the end of the transition period in December that the UK and Europe will agree a trade deal to cover air travel which will allow the free movement of people and the deregulated airline market between the UK and Europe to continue.  As an EU airline group, Ryanair should be less affected by a no-deal Brexit than our UK registered competitors. However, we still expect Brexit to cause adverse trading consequences.”

    Looking towards the second quarter, it expects the rest of the year to be as challenging for the airline and to report higher losses for the second half.

    The group expects to carry approx 38million passengers in FY21, although this guidance could be further revised downwards if EU Governments continue to mismanage air travel and impose more uncoordinated travel restrictions or lock downs this winter.  The Group expects to record higher losses in H2 than in H1,” it concluded. ,