Ryanair nudged up its forecast on Monday for full-year traffic on strong summer bookings but stated that fares remained well below pre-pandemic levels as it reported a first-quarter net loss of 273 million euros, according to Reuters.
Europe‘s largest low-cost carrier said it expected to fly between 90 and 100 million passengers in its financial year to end-March 2022, up from an earlier forecast of 80-100 million.
The airline indicated that a surge in bookings saw traffic increase from around one-third of 2019 levels in June to a forecast of two-thirds in July.
“At least 10 million passengers are expected in August and September, around 70% of pre-pandemic levels,” said Chief Financial Officer Neil Sorahan.
“We’ve been encouraged by closing bookings, over the past number of weeks, particularly since the European Digital COVID certificate has been rolled out. So on that basis, we’re now improving our traffic guidance,” added Sorahan.
Ryanair flew 27.5 million passengers in the year to March 2021, down from a pre-COVID-19 peak of 149 million. Sorahan explained that the airline may beat its forecast of 150 million next year. Ryanair’s average fare was 24 euros in the April-June quarter down from 36 euros in the same quarter of 2019.
The average number of empty seats is likely to fall from 27% in the April-June quarter to a more normal level of under 10% during the first half of next year, Sorahan told Reuters in an interview.
Ryanair remains in talks with Boeing about a significant order of the slightly larger MAX 10 jet for delivery from 2026, and the airline may do a deal later in the year but only if the price is right,” said Sorahan.