Ryanair expects to fly up to 100 million passengers this financial year after a strong recovery in summer bookings.
The Irish airline upped its forecast to fly between 90 million and 100 million in the year ending March 2022, up from the lower end of an 80 million to 120 million range it previously forecast.
The announcement came as the company reported a loss of 273 million euros (£234 million) in the first quarter of the year, adding Covid-19 continued to “wreak havoc” on the business.
The company said traffic in the first quarter was up to 8.1 million from 0.5 million in the same quarter last year, but the losses are higher than the 185 million euros (£158 million) in the same period of 2020.
It said: “FY22 continues to be challenging, with Covid-19 travel restrictions prolonging uncertainty.
“Following the 1st July rollout of EU digital Covid certificates (and the relaxation of the UK’s quarantine rules) for fully-vaccinated persons, our group has seen Q2 bookings recover strongly (albeit at low fares).
“We believe that FY22 traffic has improved to a range of 90m to 100m (previously guided at the lower end of an 80m to 120m passenger range) and (cautiously) expect that the likely outcome for FY22 is somewhere between a small loss and breakeven.
“This is dependent on the continued rollout of vaccines this summer and no adverse Covid variant developments.”
Ryanair flew 27.5 million people in the year to March 2021, down from 148.6 million in the previous year.
The company said: “Covid-19 continued to wreak havoc on our business during Q1 with most Easter flights cancelled and a slower than expected easing of EU govt. travel restrictions into May and June.
“Significant uncertainty around travel green lists (particularly in the UK) and extreme govt. caution in Ireland meant that Q1 bookings were close-in and at low fares.”