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Author: Alan LittleDate: 2021-09-01

Ryanair (RYA) -2% despite tip for “very strong recovery” from September


British airlines traded lower on Tuesday on fears about COVID-19 despite Ryanair’s (RYA) forecast for passenger numbers to return to pre-pandemic levels by October.

British airline stocks traded down on Tuesday due to fears of a new COVID-19 variant despite Ryanair’s (RYA) upgraded passenger forecast following a “very strong recovery” in demand.

In a new update, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said that 10.5m passengers are expected to fly on its airplanes every month from September through to November.

Even more encouraging is that flights are on track to match pre-pandemic levels by October after hitting 80% capacity in August and expectations for 90% in September.

Uncertainties persist, though as evidenced by the news that a potential new COVID-19 variant in South Africa could spread, despite the World Health Organisation downplaying its impact.

O’Leary noted that its latest forecast was based on there being “no adverse COVID developments”.

If the current trends hold, Ryanair believes that a “very strong recovery” is in the offing, which bodes well for the industry in 2022.

The winter months are expected to be quieter, though Ryanair revealed that up to 20% of seats in flights would be empty from December, up from the 7% to 8% pre-pandemic figure.

O’Leary added that pricing is also expected to be lower before bouncing back to normal in summer next year.

To prepare for the uptick in demand, the Irish air carrier plans to open 14 new routes from the UK to Europe, with Finland and Sweden among the destinations.

The expansion follows EasyJet’s (EZJ) recent plans to launch flights to more short-haul destinations.

Despite the flurry of good news, Ryanair shares closed 2.69% lower at 15.90p in London on Tuesday, while EasyJet retreated 1.68% to 796p, and British Airways owner IAG (IAG) fell 2.68% to 159.36p.

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