In a positive note, Ryanair’s Chief Executive Michael O’Leary says he expects industry recovery to “some degree of normality” next summer. Speaking at an on-line conference, he described the latest developments as fit for “reasonable optimism“.
Ryanair’s Chief Executive forecasts passenger traffic to be around 75-80% of 2019 summer levels. O’Leary’s prediction came on the heels of the Pfizer results for their experimental Covid-19 vaccine. The pharmaceutical giant announced that their trial vaccine was 90% effective. Approval for this and other vaccine candidates is still some time away – probably a month or more.
Just over a week ago the airline presented their six-month financial results. And in a related video presentation, O’Leary had been cautious about 2021 passenger numbers. He explained that the airline has different plans, varying between “50% of 2019 up to 80% of 2019” levels. So it seems the vaccine news now pushed forecasts towards Ryanair’s more optimistic summer scenario.
Ryanair Finances Weathered 2020 Summer
Announced on the 2nd of November, Ryanair’s financial results recorded the airline’s first ever summer loss. It was at € 197 million, from a profit of € 1.15 in the same period the year before. However the level of the loss was a pleasant surprise for many. Financial analysts had predicted losses to be 24% higher, at € 244 million. The announcement caused company shares to rise 6%.
The company’s strong balance sheet meant that they don’t need to raise more funds, unlike other airlines. On the contrary, they view this as an opportunity to improve their competitive position, while others struggle to recover. O’Leary announced that the company was in talks with Boeing for purchasing extra aircraft. This may be tied to compensation that Ryanair expects from Boeing, for the 18-month delay in MAX deliveries.
Asked whether new orders could involve the MAX-10, O’Leary pointed out that this variant is still some time away from production. Ryanair is interested in that aircraft and expects favorable production slots from Boeing, when it is available.
For now, Ryanair focuses on deliveries of the 200-passenger model (the MAX-200, a variant of the MAX-8). The airline is confident that existing MAX variants will fly this month. So Ryanair’s new aircraft should feature in their schedule, next summer. They hope to have at least 30 of them by then.