DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ryanair on Monday posted a 355 million euro ($369.06 million) loss for the pandemic-hit 12 months to end-March, but said it was impossible to accurately forecast anything beyond hoping for a return to “reasonable profitability” this year.
The Irish airline, which is operating more flights than any other European airline according to air traffic regulator Eurocontrol, said it planned to grow its traffic to 165 million passengers this year, up from 97 million a year ago and a pre-COVID-19 record of 149 million.
However, Ryanair Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary said it was “impractical, if not impossible” to provide a sensible or accurate profit guidance range at this time given the potential continued risk the war in Ukraine and COVID-19 poses to booking.
“This recovery remains fragile,” O’Leary said in a statement.
He added that while bookings have improved in recent weeks, first-quarter pricing continued to need stimulation. Ryanair is cautiously optimistic that peak summer fares would be somewhat ahead of pre-pandemic levels due to pent-up demand.
The full-year pre-exceptional loss of 355 million euros was less than a forecast loss of 370 million euros in a company poll of analysts and a loss of 1 billion euros in its previous financial year. The airline made a profit of 1 billion euros in the year to March 2020.
Ryanair shares were trading at 13.62 euros at Friday’s close, down 25% in three months, in part due to a surge in fuel prices and concerns about the impact of inflation on European demand.
($1 = 0.9619 euros)
(Reporting by Conor Humphries and Padraic Halpin; Editing by Rashmi Aich)