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Ryanair sees traffic collapse as airspace closes

By Abigail Townsend

Date: Friday 03 Apr 2020

Ryanair sees traffic collapse as airspace closes

(Sharecast News) - Ryanair saw air traffic plunge in March, and warned it expected to carry minimal "if any" traffic in the coming months.
The Irish airline said March traffic had fallen 48% to 5.7m from 10.9m a year earlier, as Covid-19 shut airspace. Full-year traffic was 148.6m, up just 4% on the 2019 rolling total. At the start of March, Ryanair had been on track to achieve a full-year total of 154m.

The carrier said it operated just 33,000 scheduled flights in March, compared to an expected 64,000, and that included a number of government-backed rescue and medical flights.

And it warned: "Due to widespread European Union government flight bans and restrictions, Ryanair expects to carry minimal if any traffic during the months of April and May."

The budget carrier is currently operating less than 20 daily flights, a 99% collapse on its pre-coronavirus daily schedule of more than 2,500.

Ryanair said it expected to report profit after tax for the year to 31 March 2020 of between €950m and €1bn, at the lower end of guidance.

"This is due to the response of EU governments to the spread of the Covid-19 virus, which have since mid-March included widespread flight bans and travel restrictions, which have closed Europe's skies to all but a tiny number of rescue and medical flights," it said.

"The airline expects its fleet to remain largely grounded for at least April and May. We therefore expect to record ineffectiveness on our full-year 2021 fuel hedges as an exceptional item in our 2020 results. We currently estimate this will amount to an exceptional charge of approximately €300m."

Ryanair also pulled its guidance for the 2021 full year because of the "continued uncertainty on the impact and duration of the Covid-19 pandemic".

The outbreak has seen governments around the world curtail travel and close borders as they look to contain its spread. Most sectors have been rocked by the economic fallout, but airlines have been hit especially hard.

On Thursday, the International Air Transport Association said February passenger numbers had declined 14.9%, the steepest fall since the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York.

British Airways has temporarily suspended more than 30,000 cabin crew and ground staff as its owner, IAG, which also owns Aer Lingus, pulled its dividend. EasyJet has grounded its entire fleet while in the US, both American Airlines and Delta have drastically reduced capacity.


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