Ryanair says passenger numbers set to halve

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Ryanair has said it expects passenger numbers to halve in the current financial year as the coronavirus crisis continues to blight air travel.

The airline said it expected numbers to fall below 80 million, down from its original target of 154 million.

The prediction came as Ryanair announced profits of just over €1bn (£894bn) for the financial year to the end of March.

It said it would weather the pandemic and emerge stronger afterwards.

The airline’s profit was 13% up on the previous year’s figure of €885m.

Ryanair is set to cut 3,000 jobs – 15% of its workforce – as it restructures to cope with the coronavirus crisis.

Ryanair said 2021 would be a “difficult” year as it worked hard to return to scheduled flying.

But it said its balance sheet was one of the strongest in the industry, with cash reserves of more than €4bn.

“Unlike many flag carrier competitors, Ryanair will not request or receive state aid,” it added.

Ryanair said it could not provide any profit guidance for the current financial year, but it expected to report a loss of more than €200m in the April-to-June period.

“As we look beyond the 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,” it said.

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