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Ryanair says return to air made harder by state aid for competitors

Mark Moran
18 May 2020

Ryanair has said that it will not be requesting government assistance during the pandemic despite plans to cut 3,000 jobs. Ryanair said that competitors that have done so are “unlawful”.

The company said that its return to the air will be made harder by the €30bn support given to other airlines, which it says is “in breach of both EU State Aid and competition rules”.

Ryanair announced that it is expecting to lose more than €200m in the first quarter of the year, followed by a “smaller loss” in the second quarter.

The airline reported today that it saw a full year profit of €1,002m, up from €885m last year, but warned that the effects of lockdown will impact its passenger intake until at least 2021.

It said that it expects to carry 80 million passengers in 2021 - nearly 50% less than its 154m target - but that it will see significant opportunities for growth as its competitors “shrink, fail or are acquired by government bailed out carriers”.

Ryanair said: “FY21 will be difficult for the Ryanair group as its airlines work hard to return to scheduled flying following the COVID-19 crisis. Unlike many flag carrier competitors, Ryanair will not request or receive state aid.

“Consultations about base closures, pay cuts of up to 20%, unpaid leave and up to 3,000 job cuts (mainly pilots and cabin crew) are underway with our people and our unions.

“Our commercial team are also in active discussions with our airport partners regarding S.20, and beyond, capacity allocations. Ryanair’s return to scheduled flying will be rendered significantly more difficult by competing with flag carrier airlines who will be financing below cost selling with the benefit of over €30bn in unlawful state aid, in breach of both EU State Aid and competition rules.

“As we look beyond next year, there will be significant opportunities for Ryanair’s low cost, growth model as competitors shrink, fail or are acquired by government bailed out carriers.”

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