Ryanair reduces annual losses as lockdowns are lifted
Irish carrier Ryanair announced on Monday a big reduction in annual net losses as the airline industry recovered from pandemic lockdowns.
Losses after taxes fell to 355m euros in the 12 months to the end of March, compared with a net loss of 1 billion euros in the previous financial year.
"This recovery, however, remains fragile," after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, CEO Michael O'Leary said in a statement.
"Given the continuing risk of adverse news flows" in Ukraine and the coronavirus, "it is impractical - or even impossible - to provide a reasonable or accurate profit margin at this time," he added.
While Ryanair expects cost increases as a result of the spike in war-fueled oil prices, it hopes to "return to reasonable profitability" in the current financial year.
It forecast 165 million passenger traffic for the current year, compared to 149 million before the pandemic.
The airline carried more than 97 million passengers last year compared to 27,5 million in the previous 12 months when the pandemic broke out. The group's revenue nearly tripled to 4,8 billion euros last year as travel demand recovered.
Despite rising inflation, Ryanair said its average fares fell by more than a quarter to 27 euros.
Ryanair expected a much smaller loss until Omicron was released in late 2021, dropping fares and causing another disruption to its European routes.
The airline said it remained committed to restoring wages before the coronavirus for all its staff once it returned to the levels of profitability observed before the pandemic struck.
In addition to the pay cuts, Ryanair cut 3.000 pilot and cabin crew positions, or 15 percent of its staff, in the aftermath of the pandemic.
As travel recovers, however, airlines are in fierce competition for staff and in some cases offer hiring bonuses.