RYANAIR said is preparing for a “hugely challenging” period to continue as it reported a loss of €197m in the first half of the year.
The low-cost airline said it “expects to record higher losses” in the second half of the year, despite having a lower cost base and a stronger balance sheet.
Coronavirus saw 99% of the carrier’s fleet grounded for almost four months between mid-March and the end of June.
The company said traffic in the first half of the year fell from 86m to 17m passengers compared with the same period last year, around 80%.
Its revenue dropped 78% to €1.18bn, while the loss in this half year contrasts with a profit after tax of €1.15bn in the first half of last financial year.
With almost no traffic in the first quarter of the year, the “vast majority” of the first half of the year’s revenue was earned in the second quarter, the firm said.
It added: “Given the current Covid-19 uncertainty, Ryanair cannot provide FY21 PAT (profit after tax) guidance at this time.
“The group expects to carry approximately 38m passengers in 2021, although this guidance could be further revised downwards if EU governments continue to mismanage air travel and impose more uncoordinated travel restrictions or lock downs this winter.”
It said the pandemic, uncertainties over Brexit, airline pricing, fuel costs, competition from new and existing carriers, actions by governments and the willingness of passengers to travel “could significantly impact” its results for the remainder of the year.
Last week, Ryanair announced that it was grounding all flights from both Cork and Shannon Airports for four weeks, beginning November 4.
Company CEO Eddie Wilson said that the passenger numbers out of both Cork and Shannon airports have been “shocking” in recent months.
Managing director at Cork Airport, Niall MacCarthy, said the news was “a further body blow to the Irish aviation industry and to Cork and the south of Ireland in particular”.