Ryanair has released its financial report for the first quarter of 2022 and, for the first time since the pandemic begun, they are making a profit. Despite all the adversities of this year, the war and several strikes across Europe, the airlines turned a net profit of €170 million.
This is a clear improvement compared to last year’s Q1, when the company had a net loss of €273 million. The overall revenue increased by 602%, from just €0.37 billion last year to €2.6 billion this year. And although traffic numbers were in fact 9% higher than pre-covid, increasing from just 8.1 million in 2021 to 45.5 million in 2022, the net profit is still €243 million lower than the one in 2019.
The airline attributes the success to lowering the prices of plane tickets, which encouraged travellers to book with Ryanair. Another factor that CEO Michael O’Leary says helped the recovery is the decision to keep most of the staff, but lower their wages. This has sparked some controversy lately, as pilots in Belgium and France have been striking citing under minimum wage pay. O’Leary however says that “accelerated pay restoration agreements have been agreed with Unions representing over 80% of our pilots and approx. 70% of our cabin crews across Europe”.
The airline has also revealed that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had a big impact on the Easter season “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February damaged Easter bookings and fares. As such, average fares were down 4% on the same quarter pre-Covid”.
At the same time, Ryanair highlighted their commitment to the environment saying that this summer they “are operating 73 new B737 “Gamechanger” aircraft, delivering 4% more seats yet burning 16% less fuel and cutting noise emissions by up to 40%. Passengers flying across Europe who switch to Ryanair (from high-fare legacy airlines) can reduce their environmental footprint by up to 50% per flight.”
Furthermore, they are increasing their sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) usage. One third of all the flights from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport are powered by a 40% SAF blend, while the airline aims to power 12.5% of their flights using SAF and cut their CO₂ per pax/km by 10% to 60 grams by 2030.
While we remain hopeful that the high rate of vaccinations in Europe will allow the airline and tourism industry to fully recover and finally put Covid behind us, we cannot ignore the risk of new Covid variants in Autumn 2022.Michael O’Leary, Ryanair CEO
Lastly, O’Leary expressed caution for the rest of the year, highlighting how the Omicron variant and the war have shown how fragile the industry is. Consequently, they are unable to give a forecast for the rest of the year, as “the strength of any recovery will be hugely dependent upon there being no adverse or unexpected developments”.