Ryanair lost €815m in the last year due to an 81% collapse in its traffic and revenues during the pandemic.
However, the airline said it still had €3.15bn cash in the bank at the end of March.
It claims it is poised for growth, having used the crisis to negotiate lower airport costs and long-term growth deals, including a seven-year deal at London Stansted.
While it expects intra-European flight capacity to be ‘materially lower for the foreseeable future’, the airline said this will create opportunities for it to expand using its lower cost Boeing 737 Max aircraft, of which it has 210 on order.
“We are encouraged by the recent release of multiple Covid-19 vaccines and hope that their rollout will facilitate the resumption of intra-Europe air travel and tourism this summer,” said Ryanair.
“If, as is presently predicted, most European populations are vaccinated by September, then we believe that we can look forward to a strong recovery in air travel, jobs and tourism in H2 of the current fiscal year.
“The recent strong increases in weekly bookings since early April suggests that this recovery has already begun.”
Ryanair’s traffic for the year to 31 March fell 81% to just 27.5m due to COVID travel restrictions, down from 149m in 2019, leading to an 81% fall in revenue to €1.64bn.
What flights it was able to operate during the 12-month period were flying with 29% of seats empty. Ryanair usually fills 95% of its capacity.
However, the airline said its ancillary revenue per passenger rose 11% to almost €22 as more chose priority boarding and reserved seating
Cost reductions have been implemented across all airlines in the group, which includes Buzz, Lauda Air and Malta Air. These include ‘significant’ pay cuts and cancelled bonus payments for senior managers while other employees suffered ‘modest’ pay cuts and job losses ‘minimised’, it said.
The airline added that it had ‘responded promptly, and effectively, to this crisis, by working hard to assist millions of customers with flight changes, refunds and changed travel plans’.