Even though the Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair has seen promising signs of recovery in terms of passenger demand for air travel, it was not enough to prevent the airline from incurring a significant loss in the first quarter of its 2021 financial year. Despite having carried 8.1 million passengers between three months from April to June 2021, the budget air carrier reported a €273 million (£234 million) net loss, the financial report shows.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ryanair Michael O’Leary said it were massive cancelations of Easter flights and a delay in the relaxation of travel restrictions that led to the  €273 million (£234 million) in Q1 2021. 

Compared to results of the same period in 2020, passenger traffic increased from 500,000 travelers during Q1 2020 to 8.1 million passengers in Q1 2021. However, the airline’s loss still grew by around €88 million (£75 million) from €185 million (£158 million) in the same period of 2020. 

“COVID-19 continued to wreak havoc on our business during Q1 with most Easter flights canceled and a slower than expected easing travel restrictions into May and June,” O’Leary explained. “Significant uncertainty around travel green lists (particularly in the UK) and extreme Governmental caution in Ireland meant that Q1 bookings were close in and at low fares.”.

While noticing a revenue jump of 196% from €125 million in Q1 2020 to €371 million for the same quarter in 2021, Ryanair shared positive expectations over results of the next quarter hoping to see a rise in passenger demand lead by offered pricing below pre-COVID levels as well as a high rate of vaccinated travelers across Europe.

“We kept aircraft and crews current throughout the quarter and recruited additional cabin crew to enable us to recover quickly in Q2 as Covid restrictions ease. [...] Based on current bookings, we expect traffic to rise from over five million in June to almost nine million in July, and over 10 million in August, as long as there are no further Covid setbacks in Europe,” O’Leary was quoted in the report.

“If, as is presently predicted, most of Europe’s adult population is fully vaccinated by September, then we believe that we can look forward to a strong recovery in air travel for the second half of the fiscal year and well into 2022 ‒ as is presently the case in domestic US air travel,”  the CEO said.

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Eurocontrol listed the 10 busiest airline operators in Europe. Ryanair took a leading position with 2,019 flights in the week between July 16-22, 2021.