Ryanair predicts annual net losses will come in at the more disappointing end of its previous expectations and has increased fuel hedges as high oil prices weigh on airlines.
The Irish low-cost carrier is now expecting an annual net loss of €350-450 million ($386-$497 million) for the year to March 31, 2022. It had previously predicted a loss in a range of €250-450 million ($276-$497 million).
Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary has previously said he expected a strong bounce-back in demand for Easter and summer, but that the carrier was having to keep ticket prices low to fill its planes.
Ryanair also said it had further increased its fuel hedging cover. For the 12 months to end-March 2023, it now has 80% cover, with 65% hedged at $630 and 15% at $775 per tonne. The airline has already hedged almost 10% of its requirements for its 2024 financial year at $760.
The announcement on April 4, 2022, came as it provided details of passenger numbers for the 12 months to the end of March 2022. In the period, it carried 97.1 million passengers, a sharp increase from 27.5 million the previous year, but still only two-thirds of its pre-COVID traffic of 149 million. Its load factor – how full its planes – are reached 82%.
Ryanair’s traffic figures were hit hard by the outbreak of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus in December, January and February. March traffic, although recovering to 11.2 million and with a load factor of 87%, was also impacted by the war in Ukraine, Ryanair said. In total, the airline said it canceled 2,000 flights to and from Ukraine.
The airline said it will announce full results for the 2022 financial year on May 16, 2022.