LONDON – Ryanair said on Monday that its third-quarter net loss narrowed, but the outlook for pricing and yields for FY22 remains “hugely uncertain” due to a lack of travel confidence.
For the three months ended December 31, the net loss was 96 million euros, compared with a net loss of 321 million the year before. The airline now expects an FY22 net loss within a wider than normal range of 250 to 450 million euros.
“Q4 traffic requires significant price stimulation at lower prices to quickly recover load factors which suffered steep declines due to the Omicron collapse in bookings,” Ryanair said in a press release.
Before December, the Dublin-based airline praised the rollout of the EU Digital Covid Certificates and the relaxation of EU travel restrictions.
According to the company, “Q3 had strong bookings for the October mid-term break, and less confusion about the UK Government’s absurd ‘traffic light’ system.”
Ryanair saw October traffic rise to 11.3 million with an 84 percent load factor, further improved to 86 percent in November, albeit at lower fares.
The Omicron variant, and return of travel restrictions, “significantly damaged close-in Christmas & New Year bookings”, the airline said. December traffic slowed to 9.5 million passengers, “well behind the expected target of 11 million guests.”
The low-cost operator harshly criticized “the media hysteria” that forced many European governments to “reimpose travel restrictions in the run-up to Christmas, which significantly weakened peak Christmas & New Year bookings and fares.”
In January Ryanair cut its capacity by 33 percent which lowered the traffic target from 10 million to between 6-7 million customers.
“We hope that the rollout of booster vaccines across Europe in recent weeks, and growing evidence that Omicron is less virulent than other variants, will enable EU governments to remove travel restrictions and restore consumer confidence in inter-EU air travel,” the airline added.
In the past nine months Ryanair opened 15 new bases (Agadir, Billund, Chania, Corfu, Cork, Madeira, Newcastle, Nuremberg, Riga, Stockholm, Venice (Marco-Polo), Venice (Treviso), Turin, Zadar & Zagreb) and announced 720 new routes, whit low-cost long term growth deals extended in Stansted, Bergamo, Manchester, East Midlands, and Charleroi.