Ryanair Holdings PLC on Monday reported a surge in first-quarter revenue, beating pre-Covid figures and sending the low-cost airline back into profit, even as Easter bookings and fares were badly damaged by the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February.
For the three months to June 30, revenue was 2.60 billion euros, up from 370 million euros in the first quarter of last year. This saw the Dublin-based carrier make an after-tax profit of €170 million compared to a loss of €273 million the previous year. However, the company noted that this result was lower than its pre-Covid profit of 243 million euros in the first quarter of its financial year 2020, which ended June 30, 2019.
Notably, the airline had more passengers in the quarter to June 30 and higher revenues than in the quarter to June 30, 2019. The number of customers increased by 7.9% to 45.5 million against 41.9 million.
Turnover increased by 13% to 2.60 billion euros against 2.31 billion euros three years ago. The load factor was however lower at 92% compared to 96%.
Average fares were down 4% from the same quarter before Covid, but ancillary revenue continued to perform well, delivering more than €22.50 per passenger, Ryanair noted.
Looking ahead, Ryanair said it could not “ignore the risk” of new Covid variants in the fall. The Dublin-based carrier pointed to its experience with Omicron last November and the invasion of Ukraine to demonstrate how “the airline market remains fragile”. Ryanair said the strength of any recovery will depend on there being no adverse or unexpected developments over the remainder of the 2023 financial year.
The airline said these were “clear signs of pent-up demand”. Average rates in the second quarter of its fiscal year topped pre-Covid levels by a low double-digit percentage, after falling 4% in the first quarter.
However, bookings remain closer than normal, leaving the company with “almost zero visibility on H2”.
Ryanair shares rose 0.3% to €12.91 in Dublin on Monday morning.
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