Wednesday 7 April 2021 8:38 am

Ryanair expects to limit last year's losses to £732m

Ryanair said it believes losses in the last year will now be lower than previously expected, at between £689m and £732m, compared with previous guidance of around £100m more.

The downgrade comes despite the company adding that travel restrictions and lockdowns over Easter, blaming the slow rollout in the EU of Covid-19 vaccinations, delayed any recovery in passenger numbers.

Read more: Ryanair and Wizz Air passenger numbers down again as year of pain continues

After the worst crisis in aviation history in 2020, the Irish carrier said it had flown just 27.5m people over the last 12 months, down from 149m the year before.

As yet, these figures show no sign of picking up, with the airline carrying just 500,000 passengers in each of February and March.

The continued downturn means that Ryanair is now expecting traffic for the full year at the lower end of its guidance of 80m to 120m passengers.

Throughout the pandemic the carrier has insisted that has sufficient reserves to survive an even more longer slump, should the summer’s much-hoped for recovery not happen.

As of the end of the financial year Ryanair said it had €3.15bn in cash, with over 84 per cent of its 420 aircraft unencumbered.

Shares in the low-cost flyer rose 0.6 per cent as markets opened this morning.

Airlines are anxiously awaiting next week’s Global Travel Taskforce report, which will lay out how international travel can restart safely.

Read more: Get US on travel ‘green list’ from 17 May, say aviation bosses

Foreign leisure travel is meant to restart on 17 May, but the government has already warned that the date could be pushed back due to a third wave of cases in Europe.

Carriers are lobbying hard for ministers to hold to the existing date. Yesterday the chief execs of Virgin Atlantic and British Airways (BA) made a joint call for travel to the US to be opened up from the earliest possible date.