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Ryanair eyes return to pre-Covid profit but recovery ‘fragile’

A Ryanair aircraft Boeing 737-800 prepares to take off at Krakow Airport.
Omar Marques | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Ryanair on Monday said a return to pre-Covid levels of profitability this year was not certain even as the carrier topped first-quarter profit estimates.

The after-tax profit of 170 million euros ($174 million) for the quarter ended June was ahead of estimates of 157 million euros in a company poll of analysts, but well short of the 243-million-euro profit in the same quarter of 2019.

Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said fares for the July-September quarter, typically its most profitable period of the year, were higher than 2019 levels by a low double-digit percentage.

Unpredictability around fuel prices, Covid-19 and geopolitical risks make it impossible to forecast profit for the full financial year which ends on March 31, 2023, he said.

Ryanair expects profitability and margins to return to pre-Covid levels, but the company is not certain whether that will be achieved in the current or next financial year, O’Leary said in a video presentation.

Ryanair posted a profit of 1 billion euros in its pre-Covid financial year 2020, with 148 million passengers compared to the 165 million people it plans to fly this year.

“Any guidance is subject to a very rapid change from unexpected events which are well beyond our control during what remains a very strong but still fragile recovery,” O’Leary said.

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