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Ryanair Says COVID-19 Second Wave is Now its Biggest Fear But Losses Lower Than Expected

Ryanair Says COVID-19 Second Wave is Now its Biggest Fear But Losses Lower Than Expected

Ryanair reported a €185 million loss for the first quarter of 2020 on Monday, describing the period as “the most challenging in Ryanair’s 35-year history”. After grounding nearly 99 per cent of its fleet for three and a half months because of COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns, Europe’s largest low-cost airline resumed flights across Europe in late June in the hope of making something of the crucial Summer season.

While the loss is substantial, the results aren’t nearly as bad as some analysts had been expecting. The airline says it managed to reduce costs by as much as 85 per cent during the period and has negotiated pay cuts with cabin crew and pilots to drive down costs over the next few years.

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But while Ryanair hopes to operate 60 per cent of its schedule in August, increasing to 70 per cent in September, the airline doesn’t believe it’s out of the woods just yet. Saying that the rest of 2020 will be “very challenging”, Ryanair now says it’s biggest fear is a second wave of COVID-19 hitting Europe in late Autumn.

“Hopefully EU Governments, by implementing effective track and tracing systems, and EU citizens by complying with recommended face masks, rigorous hand hygiene and other measures, will avoid the need for further lockdowns or restrictions on intra-EU flights,” the airline said of the risk of a large second wave prompting further lockdowns.

The airline will no doubt be closely watching quarantine measures reimposed on the British government on travellers arriving in the UK from mainland Spain after a recent spike in Coronavirus cases.

Michael O’Leary, the airline’s often combative chief executive has been a vocal opponent of quarantine rules, previously branding the UK government’s policy as “idiotic”.

Ryanair says it still hopes to take delivery of as many as 40 Boeing 737MAX aircraft, over a year later than planned, and only if Boeing manages to get the troubled airliner recertified later this year. The airline says it remains a “committed supporter” of what it describes as a ‘gamechanger’ aircraft.