Ryanair posts first quarterly profit since late 2019

LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM – APRIL 06: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Michael O’Leary attends day 3 ‘Grand National Day’ of The Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse on April 6, 2019 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

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Ryanair reported its first quarterly profit since before the onset of COVID-19, but said it expects to post an annual loss of up to 200 million euros ($231 million) as it would be forced to discount tickets to fill its planes over the winter.

The Irish airline, which operated more flights this summer than its European rivals, reported on Monday an after-tax loss of 48 million euros for the six months to September. A company poll of analysts had forecast a loss of 43 million euros.

While it did not break out its after-tax profit for the three months ended September, its second quarter, the 273 million euros loss it reported in the first quarter implies a second quarter profit of 225 million euros.

That marks its first quarterly profit since October-December, 2019 – before the pandemic disrupted travel.

The budget airline, Europe’s largest, carried 39.1 million passengers in the six months ended September, 54% fewer than in the same period of 2019.

Ryanair is expected to turn in a loss of between 100 million and 200 million euros for the financial year, which ends on March 31, Group Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said, adding that there was extremely little visibility.

O’Leary, who has said the pandemic offers the best growth opportunities of his three-decade career, in September lifted the Ryanair’s five-year growth target to fly 225 million passengers a year by 2026, from 200 million previously forecast.

Ryanair nudged up its passenger target for its financial year to March 2022to “just over” 100 million. It flew 149 million passengers a year before the pandemic.

The airline reiterated it expects to return to pre-COVID profitability in the year ending March 2023.



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