Tag Archives: Ryanair

Ryanair to appeal EU court rulings on Air France and SAS state aid

Ryanair has noted the EU Court’s rulings on French and Swedish State aid schemes favoring Air France and SAS over all other EU airlines.  The French airport tax deferral and the Swedish loan guarantee were introduced at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis with nationality conditions.  The French scheme was reserved for French registered airlines and the Swedish scheme to Swedish registered airlines, while excluding all other EU airlines, which were also damaged by Covid-19, despite their contribution to connectivity, jobs, traffic growth and the wider economy in France and Sweden.  Ryanair appealed the European Commission’s approvals of these schemes to the EU General Court in May 2020.  Following today’s rulings, Ryanair will now refer these matters to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Ryanair’s spokesperson said:

“One of the EU’s greatest achievements is the creation of a true single market for air transport, underpinned by the principle of a common EU airline license – one for each airline.  A nationality condition in a State aid scheme is plainly incompatible with the single market. 

Ryanair is a truly European airline.  We have no rich and powerful ‘home country’ to subsidize us in times of trouble.  Nor do we want discriminatory aid.  Our instinct in a crisis is to seek efficiencies and cost savings, to offer more routes at lower fares – while remaining Europe’s greenest airline. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic over €30 billion in discriminatory State subsidies has been gifted to EU flag carriers and, if allowed to stand, this will distort the level playing field in EU aviation for decades to come, giving chronically inefficient national airlines a leg up on their efficient low-fare competitors. 

We hope that the Court of Justice will overturn the European Commission’s approvals of the French and Swedish schemes, to give airlines and consumers a glimmer of hope that national politicians obsessed with their flag carriers will be sent back to the drawing board and required to use State aid wisely to assist the recovery of traffic in the post-COVID world instead of bailing out their favored airline at the expense of fair competition and consumers.  Now is the time for the European Commission to stop caving in to national governments’ inefficient bail-out policies and start protecting the single market, Europe’s greatest asset for future economic recovery.”

Ryanair aircraft photo gallery:

Ryanair aircraft slide show:

Ryanair launches over 700 winter routes for 2021/22, calls for the end of state aid

Ryanair has made these announcements:

Ryanair has launched its Winter 21/22 schedule, covering its most popular destinations for trips taking off from late October. Boasting over 700 routes across the Ryanair network – and further destinations to be released in the coming weeks – winter sun is where it’s at for 2021. Ever popular with its customers, Ryanair has launched routes to the likes of sunny Cyprus, Gran Canaria, the Greek islands, Sicily and Malaga for Winter ’21 and avid skiers who missed out on their trip to the slopes can dust off their skis with popular destinations such as Turin, Milan and Salzburg set to welcome visitors once again next winter.

In addition to winter sun and ski, customer can also book winter city breaks to Lisbon, Paris, Venice and many more. Having missed out on holidays and weekend breaks in 2020, an eclectic mix of destinations is on offer from Ryanair this winter spanning beach holidays, city breaks, cultural and foodie hotspots.

Ryanair operates a fleet of over 470 Boeing 737-800 series aircraft, with orders of up to 210 new Boeing 737 aircraft, this includes 135 new Boeing 737 MAX 200s, and options for 75 more MAX 200s, which will enable Ryanair to grow its fleet to 585 by 2024, further lower its fares and grow traffic from 142 million customers last year to 200 million in 2024.

In other news, Ryanair has called on the European Commission to reject plans for further discriminatory State aid from the French Government to Air France. This chronically inefficient airline already received a blockbuster €7 billion subsidy package in 2020 and should not receive further Government support.

Should yet another enormous and illegal State aid bailout occur, then effective remedies must be applied to ensure fair competition in the French market and to protect the interests of the French consumer / visitor. This must include Air France giving up a substantial number of its take-off and landing slots at key French airports including Paris Charles De Gaulle, Paris Orly and Lyon.

Ryanair is ready to operate some or all of this capacity (if a competitive tender is run for their slots), to provide meaningful competition and choice vs. Air France and to assist French passengers / visitors to access lower fares.

Ryanair’s January traffic was down 88% to 1.3 million guests, operated only 15% of its normal schedule

Ryanair Holdings plc released its January traffic statistics as follows:

 

   2020 2021  Growth
Ryanair Group  10.8m 1.3m -88%
     
Rolling Annual 152.9m 42.6m  (78% LF) -72%

                                                                                   

Ryanair operated approximately 15% of its normal January schedule with a 69% load factor.

Ryanair aircraft photo gallery:

Ryanair aircraft slide show:

Ryanair reports fiscal third quarter loss of €306 million as traffic falls 78%

Ryanair Holdings plc reported a fiscal third quarter loss of €306 million, compared to a previous year quarter profit of €88 million. Features of this 3-month period to December 31, 2020 included:

 

  • Q3 traffic fell from 36m to 8m (-78%).
  • €3.5bn cash at quarter end (31 Dec.).
  • Cost reduction & liquidity management continues at all Group airlines.
  • Stansted low-cost growth deal extended by 4 years to 2028 – easyJet based slots secured.
  • CDP awards Ryanair a strong (first time) B- climate protection score.
  • Ryanair restricts non-EU shareholder voting rights post Brexit.
  • Firm Order for 75x B737-8200 aircraft (pipeline of 210 firm aircraft).

 

Q3 (IFRS) – Group 31 Dec. 2019 31 Dec. 2020 Change
Customers 35.9m 8.1m -78%
Load Factor 96% 70% -26pts
Revenue €1.91bn €0.34bn -82%
Op. Costs €1.81bn €0.67bn -63%
PAT/(Net Loss) €88m (€306m)* n/m

* excl. €15m except. hedge ineffectiveness charge.

 

COVID-19:

Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc across the industry.  Christmas & New Year traffic was severely impacted by UK travel bans imposed at short notice by many EU Govts on 19 & 20 Dec.  These flight bans, and travel restrictions, saw the Group’s Dec. traffic fall by 83% to just 1.9m passengers.  As announced on 7 Jan., Ryanair expects the latest lockdowns and pre-arrival Covid test requirement to materially reduce flight schedules and traffic through to Easter.  The Group’s full-year (FY21) traffic forecast was therefore reduced to “between 26m to 30m” passengers.

 

The Covid pandemic has caused the closure of EU airlines including Flybe, Germanwings, Level and Montenegro Airlines.  Norwegian has already entered a creditor protection examinership and Eurocontrol predicts more EU airline failures in 2021.  Significant capacity reductions have been implemented by many EU airlines and a flood of unlawful State Aid has been committed by EU Govts to their flag carriers including Alitalia, Air France/KLM, LOT, Lufthansa, SAS, TAP and others.  This illegal State Aid distorts competition and the level playing field across EU aviation.  We expect intra-European capacity to be significantly reduced for the next few years, which will create growth opportunities for Ryanair (Europe’s lowest cost airline) to take advantage of recovery growth incentives, as it takes delivery of 210 new (lower cost) Boeing 737s.  As soon as the Covid-19 virus recedes – and it will over the coming months as EU Govts accelerate vaccine rollouts – Ryanair and its partner airports will rapidly restore schedules, recover lost traffic, help the nations of Europe to reboot their tourism industry, and create jobs for young people across the cities and beaches of the EU.  We take some comfort from the success of the UK vaccine programme which is on target to vaccinate almost 50% of the UK population (30m) by the end of March.  The EU now needs to step up the slow pace of its rollout programme to match the UK’s performance.

 

Q3 BUSINESS REVIEW:

 

Revenue & Costs

Q3 revenue fell by 82% to €0.34bn as traffic shrank by 78% to 8.1m.  Ancillary revenue delivered a solid performance as more guests chose priority boarding and reserved seating. Q3 cost performance was strong, falling 63% thanks to the measures implemented over the past nine months.  Due to ongoing travel restrictions, reduced Q4 traffic and a revised aircraft delivery schedule, the Group recorded a €15m exceptional ineffectiveness charge on fuel and currency hedges in Q3.

 

The Group airlines continue to implement cost reductions.  In Dec., Ryanair increased its firm order for the Boeing 737-8200 “Gamechanger” aircraft by 75 to 210 aircraft.  These environmentally friendly aircraft have 4% more seats, but burn 16% less fuel and lower noise emissions by 40%. This winter, Group airlines are returning 14 older B737 aircraft to lessors as leases mature and Ryanair has recently concluded the delivery of 7 older B737NGs (pre-sold in 2019) for cargo conversion.  Our Route Development teams are working with multiple airport partners on recovery/growth incentives.  During Q3 the Group announced a 2 aircraft base in Paris Beauvais, added a fourth aircraft to its Naples base for S.21, announced a 4 aircraft base in Venice Treviso and increased its route network/frequencies to Venice Marco Polo, Verona and Bari.  The Group also confirmed the reopening of its Shannon (Ireland) base for S.21.

 

Recently, Ryanair concluded a 4-year extension of its low-cost growth deal in Stansted to 2028, extending the Groups low cost leadership in the key London market. The Group has also secured easyJet’s 7 based aircraft slot portfolio in Stansted. To facilitate a ramp-up of S.21 operations, Ryanair is accelerating cabin crew training which will increase staff costs in Q4.  This investment, however, will ensure that Group airlines are well placed to take up traffic recovery opportunities that arise throughout S.21 and beyond.

 

Balance Sheet & Liquidity

Ryanair’s balance sheet remains one of the strongest in the industry with a BBB credit rating (S&P and Fitch) and €3.5bn cash at 31 Dec. Approx. 80% of the Group’s owned fleet is unencumbered (with a book value of over €7bn). Since Mar. 2020, the Group has lowered cash burn by cutting costs, participating in EU Govt payroll support schemes, cancelling share buybacks and deferring non-essential capex.  Following its successful fund raising (€400m share placing & €850m eurobond) in Sept., the Group is well financed as it takes delivery of its first B737-8200 aircraft in Q4 and plans to repay over €1.5bn maturing debt in the next 6-months (incl. CCFF £600m in Mar. & €850m bond in Jun. 2021).

 

THE ENVIRONMENT:

Ryanair recently received a (first time) B- climate protection rating from CDP, making it one of the highest rated airlines in the world.  While this is a strong inaugural rating, highlighting Ryanair’s excellent environmental performance and very strong governance, the Group is committed to improving this score.  The new B737-8200s with 4% more seats, 16% lower fuel burn and 40% lower noise emissions will help Ryanair to lower its CO₂ and noise footprint and deliver on its target of being carbon neutral by 2050.  Ryanair airlines remain committed to eliminating non-recyclable plastic from our operations within 5-years and already over 80% of consumables onboard our flights are plastic free.

 

BREXIT:

Following the UK/EU Brexit trade agreement in late Dec., Ryanair implemented the measures necessary to remain majority EU owned and controlled to protect its EU airline licences. Ryanair has (as previously advised) restricted voting rights of non-EU shareholders from 1 Jan. The Group also received shareholder approval at its Dec. EGM to replace CREST with a system operated by Euroclear Bank for the electronic settlement of trading in Ryanair’s ordinary shares.  The migration of Ryanair’s ordinary shares to Euroclear will take place as part of a wider market migration of listed Irish companies shares at a date determined by Euronext Dublin – currently expected to be on or around 15 Mar. 2021.

BOEING MAX UPDATE:

In Dec., shortly after the FAAs ungrounding of the Boeing MAX aircraft in the U.S., Ryanair ordered a further 75x Boeing 737-8200 aircraft from Boeing increasing its firm order to 210 units.  Following EASAs recent certification of the MAX-8 to return to flying in Europe, we are hopeful that the B737-8200 will be certified in the coming weeks.  This will enable the Group to take delivery of up to 24 new aircraft before peak S.21. This order will deliver over a 4 year period between Spring 2021 and Dec. 2024 (FY25), facilitating traffic growth to 200m p.a. by FY26.  The B737-8200 aircraft is a “Gamechanger” for Ryanair’s customers and Europe’s consumers.  This aircraft, when delivered, will be the most audited, most regulated in aviation history.  With an exceptional environmental performance, this 197 seat Boeing aircraft is the perfect sized platform to allow Ryanair expand and grow its low fare services across Europe over the next decade while widening Ryanair’s unit cost leadership over all of our European airline competitors.

 

OUTLOOK:

FY21 will continue to be the most challenging year in Ryanair’s 35 year history.  Recently announced Covid lockdowns and travel restrictions across the EU & UK will reduce forecast FY21 traffic to between 26m and 30m (previously “up to 35m”), with more risk towards the lower end of the range.  While Q4 visibility remains limited due to uncertain and constantly changing Covid-19 travel restrictions, European Govt lockdowns, the timing of the rollout of vaccines across the EU and a very close-in booking curve, we are cautiously guiding an FY21 net loss (pre-exceptional items) of between €850m and €950m.

 

As we look beyond the Covid-19 crisis, and vaccinations roll out, the Ryanair Group expects to have a much lower cost base and a strong balance sheet, which will enable it to fund lower fares and add lower cost aircraft to capitalise on the many growth opportunities that will be available in all markets across Europe, especially where competitor airlines have substantially cut capacity or failed. We will work assiduously with our airport and Govt partners to restore routes and recover traffic for the benefit of our airports, our customers and our people as we try to prioritise the jobs and salary recovery of our people.

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Ryanair’s December traffic was down 83% to only 1.9 million passengers

Ryanair Holdings plc released its December traffic statistics as follows:

 

  2019 

 

2020 

 

Growth 

 

Ryanair Group 11.2m 1.9m -83%
Rolling Annual 152.4m 52.1m  (81% LF) -66%

 

Ryanair operated approximately 22% of our normal December schedule with a 73% load factor.

Ryanair orders 75 additional Boeing 737 MAX jets

Ryanair and Boeing announced today that Europe’s largest airline is placing a firm order for 75 additional 737 MAX airplanes, increasing its order book to 210 jets. Ryanair again selected the 737 8-200, a higher-capacity version of the 737-8, citing the airplane’s additional seats and improved fuel efficiency and environmental performance.

“As soon as the COVID-19 virus recedes – and it likely will in 2021 with the rollout of multiple effective vaccines – Ryanair and our partner airports across Europe will – with these environmentally efficient aircraft – rapidly restore flights and schedules, recover lost traffic and help the nations of Europe recover their tourism industries, and get young people back to work across the cities, beaches and ski resorts of the European Union,” O’Leary said.

Ryanair is the launch customer for the high-capacity 737-8 variant, having placed its first order for 100 airplanes and 100 options in late 2014, followed by firm orders of 10 airplanes in 2017 and 25 in 2018. The 737 8-200 will enable Ryanair to configure its aircraft with 197 seats, increasing revenue potential, and reduce fuel consumption by 16 percent compared to the airline’s previous airplanes.

Ryanair reports reports first half loss of €197 million as traffic falls 80% to 17 million

Ryanair Holdings plc has reported a first half loss of €197 million $229.4 million), compared to a previous year profit of €1.15 billion. Highlights of this 6-month period include:

  • 99% of the fleet grounded from mid-March to end June.
  • Successful return to service implemented 1 July.
  • H1 traffic fell from 86m to 17m.
  • Cost reduction measures implemented across business.
  • Successful €1.25bn financing raised in Sep. (equity placing & eurobond).
  • Cash prioritised. Closing cash €4.5bn.
  • Over €1.5bn debt due in 2021 (incl. £600m UK CCFF & €850m Jun’14 bond).

 

H1 (IFRS) – Group* 30 Sep. 2019 30 Sep. 2020 Change
Customers 85.7m 17.1m -80%
Load Factor 96% 72% -24pts
Revenue €5.39bn €1.18bn -78%
Op. Costs €4.10bn €1.35bn -67%
PAT/(Net Loss) €1.15bn (€197m) n/m

* excl. €214m except. hedge ineffectiveness charge.

 

COVID-19:

COVID-19 grounded the Group’s entire fleet from mid-March to the end of June as EU Governments imposed flight or travel bans and widespread population lockdowns.  During this crisis, Group airlines repatriated customers and operated rescue flights for many EU Governments.  The Group implemented extensive health measures, especially onboard aircraft, to comply with EU guidelines (ECDC & EASA) and on 1 July successfully resumed flights across most of our route network operating up to 60% of prior year capacity in Q2 achieving over 70% load factors.  Passenger confidence and forward bookings into W.20 were negatively impacted by the return of uncoordinated EU Govt flight restrictions in Sep. and Oct. which heavily curtailed travel to/from much of Central Europe, the UK, Ireland, Austria, Belgium and Portugal.  As a result, Ryanair recently cut its FY21 traffic guidance to approx. 38m guests. This takes the Group’s W.20 (Nov-Mar) capacity down from the previously guided 60% to at most 40% of prior year traffic.

Ryanair’s Customer Service teams (supported by Ryanair Labs) have cleared an unprecedented volume of customer flight changes and COVID-19 cancellations, while processing a record backlog of refunds caused by almost 4 months of EU Government imposed flight cancellations.  This process was frustrated by unlicensed OTAs, many of who provided false customer contact and fake payment details at the time of booking.  Despite the enormity of the task, almost all non-OTA refund requests have now been dealt with either via cash refunds or vouchers.

The COVID-19 crisis has already caused the closure of a number of EU airlines including Flybe, Germanwings and Level as well as deep long-term capacity reductions at many others.  It has sparked a flood of illegal State Aid from EU Governments to their flag carriers including Alitalia, Air France/KLM, LOT, Lufthansa, SAS, TAP and others.  This illegal State Aid will distort competition and allow failed flag carriers to engage in below cost selling for many years.  We expect intra-European air travel capacity to remain subdued for the next few years.  This will create opportunities for Ryanair (Europe’s lowest cost airline) to grow its network, and expand its fleet, to take advantage of lower cost airport and aircraft opportunities that will inevitably arise.

 

H1 BUSINESS REVIEW:

Revenue & Costs

Revenue fell by 78% to €1.18bn as traffic fell 80% to 17.1m.  With almost zero Q1 traffic, the vast majority of H1 revenue was earned in Q2.  Ancillary revenue performed strongly as more guests chose priority boarding and reserved seating.

During the half-year substantial work has been undertaken to successfully improve Ryanair’s long term cost leadership.  The Group has agreed modest pay cuts with our people and their unions which helped minimise job losses. Lauda has been completely restructured, better terms were agreed with our maintenance providers, lessors, marketing & other suppliers and many airport deals were renegotiated.  Our Route Development teams are working with airports partners across Europe who have suffered steep traffic declines and discussions are ongoing with aircraft suppliers to amend pricing to reflect the new Covid-19 reality.  Due to significantly reduced W.20 traffic forecasts and ongoing aircraft delivery delays, the Group recorded a €214m ineffectiveness charge on fuel and currency hedges in H1.

 

Balance Sheet & Liquidity

Ryanair’s balance sheet is one of the strongest in the industry with a BBB credit rating (S&P and Fitch) and over €4.5bn cash at 30 Sep. Almost 80% of the Group’s fleet is unencumbered (with a book value of over €7bn). Since March, the Group lowered cash burn by cutting costs, participating in EU Govt payroll support schemes, cancelling share buybacks and deferring non-essential capex.  In Sep., the Group raised €400m of equity and a 5-year (unsecured) €850m eurobond with a 2.875% coupon (both transactions were multiple times oversubscribed and keenly priced).  Cash was also boosted by €250m supplier reimbursements received in Q2.  This ensures that the Group is well financed to deal with the Covid-19 crisis and removes refinancing risk as it prepares to repay maturing debt over the coming year (CCFF £600m in Mar. & €850m bond in Jun. 2021).  This financial strength enables the Group to capitalise on the many growth opportunities that are available post Covid-19.

Copyright Photo: Joe G. Walker.

Boeing MAX update

It is over 18-months since the Group was due to take delivery of its first Boeing 737-MAX-200 aircraft.  Boeing expect a calendar Q4 return to service for the MAX-8, allowing Ryanair to, hopefully, accept delivery of its first MAX-200 in early 2021.  We expect to take delivery of approx. 30 MAXs before peak S.2021. While the Group received supplier reimbursements in Q2, compensation discussions will not be finalised or concluded with Boeing until the MAX returns to service and revised delivery schedules can be finalised and agreed.  We remain committed to the Boeing 737, particularly the new 200 series “gamechanger” aircraft which have 4% more seats, 16% lower fuel burn and 40% lower noise emissions.  These new aircraft will enable Ryanair to grow to 200m passengers p.a. over the next 5 or 6 years while lowering the cost base and significantly reducing its environmental footprint.

 

BREXIT:

The risk of a no-deal Brexit remains high.  We hope, before the end of the Transition Period in Dec., that the UK and Europe will agree a trade deal to cover air travel which will allow the free movement of people and the deregulated airline market between the UK and Europe to continue.  As an EU airline group, Ryanair should be less affected by a no-deal Brexit than our UK registered competitors. However, we still expect Brexit to cause adverse trading consequences. Ryanair has put the necessary measures in place to ensure that the Group remains majority EU owned, including restricting voting rights of non-EU shareholders, in the event of a “hard-Brexit”. We therefore expect the Group’s AOCs in Austria, Ireland, Malta and Poland to continue to operate freely.  In addition, Ryanair’s UK AOC (Ryanair UK) will be able to benefit from any bilateral agreements negotiated between the UK and non-EU countries while facilitating the operation of domestic UK flights.

 

OUTLOOK:

FY21 will continue to be a hugely challenging year for Ryanair.  Given the current Covid-19 uncertainty, Ryanair cannot provide FY21 PAT guidance at this time.  The Group expects to carry approx. 38m passengers in FY21, although this guidance could be further revised downwards if EU Govts continue to mismanage air travel and impose more uncoordinated travel restrictions or lock downs this winter.  The Group expects to record higher losses in H2 than in H1.

As we look beyond the Covid-19 crisis, and the emergence of effective vaccines in early 2021, the Ryanair Group expects to have a lower cost base, a stronger balance sheet, which will enable it to fund lower fares, and add new lower cost aircraft to capitalise on the many growth opportunities that will be available in all markets across Europe, especially where competitor airlines have substantially cut capacity or failed.

Ryanair announces 17 new weekly flights from Bari this winter

Ryanair has announced a +25% increase in domestic flights from Bari Airport this winter, with 17 additional flights every week from December 1, 2020. These additional flights are in response to record demand from Italian consumers, which in turn allows Ryanair to support the local economy and tourism and make it easier for Italian people to visit their friends and relatives.

Ryanair’s Bari Winter ’20 schedule will deliver:

  • Over 200 weekly flights across 23 routes.
  • 17 new weekly flights:

 

Destination Weekly Flights
Bologna 10 (+3)
Catania 4 (+4)
Cuneo 2 (+1)
Genoa 3 (+1)
Milan Bergamo 17 (+3)
Trieste 3 (+1)
Turin 9 (+1)
Venice 7 (+3)

 

  • Over 1,700 direct and indirect jobs in the region