Ryanair forecasts record loss amid travel 'havoc'

Ryanair says it is headed for a record loss.

Europe’s largest budget airline said Monday (February 1) that it could lose close to 1 billion euros in the current financial year.

That’s just over $1.2 billion dollars.

If confirmed, that would be about five times its previous worst loss, posted in 2009.

The forecast comes after new lockdowns around Europe saw Ryanair passenger numbers slump 78% in the last three months of 2020.

It now expects to fly between 26 and 30 million passengers over the 12 months to the end of March - down from 149 million in the previous financial year.

But Ryanair still sees growth opportunities amid the havoc.

It’s widely seen as one of the carriers best placed to weather the global travel slump, not least due to a healthy cash balance.

As of the end of December, the airline said it still had cash on hand totalling 3.5 billion euros - or about 4.25 billion dollars.

Late last year Ryanair ordered an additional 75 Boeing 737 MAX jets, marking the largest order for the plane since it was grounded after two fatal crashes.

The MAX has now been cleared to fly again, and Ryanair says it expects to have at least 24 of them in time for the key summer season.