Ryanair make a €170 million profit despite staff stand-offs

Ryanair make a €170 million profit despite staff stand-offs
Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary pictured during a press conference of Irish low-cost airline Ryanair, Wednesday 02 March 2022 in Brussels. Credit: Belga / Nicolas Maeterlinck

Ryanair have returned a profit for the first quarter of the year, despite the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the worker strikes that shook the low-cost airline's flight schedule earlier this month.

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the Irish airline recorded a net profit, having made €170 million after tax, compared to a net loss of €273 million the previous year.

In a statement released on Monday, Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary put this profit down to a surge in air traffic in 2022 triggered by lower ticket pricing.

This is reflected in the data, which shows that 45.5 million people boarded Ryanair flights in 2022, up from 8.1 million in 2021.

And as surprising as it may be, this current figure of 45.5 million is 9% greater than before the outbreak of Covid-19.

O'Leary's cautious approach 

That being said, O'Leary has called for caution. 

On the one hand, the result is still well below the €243 million in net profits published by the company for the last quarter before the pandemic began.

And on the other, despite claiming that "the high rate of vaccinations in Europe" will allow for the industry to fully recover, "we cannot ignore the risk of new Covid variants in Autumn 2022."

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Furthermore, the company also had to deal with the fallout of Russia's invasion of Ukraine which, according to the company, weighed on their bookings and fares during the Easter holidays.

Thus, due to the various sanitary and political uncertainties, Ryanair is unwilling to forecast a profit for the entire year.

A trade union trade-off?

In the same statement, the company congratulated itself on negotiating pay cuts with unions to get through the pandemic.

Ryanair claims that their firm is now fully staffed and that they are actively in discussions to restore pay, once the airline sector fully recovers.

These assertions, however, should be taken with a grain of salt, since Ryanair employees have gone on strike across Europe following failed negotiations over improved working conditions and salaries.

These strikes led to 180 flights from Belgium and over 200 in Spain being cancelled.

Ryanair has minimised the impact of these strikes, with a corporate HR manager stating that these strikes were 'useless' before the airline reached an agreement with French and Spanish pilots.


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