Ryanair has reported a full year loss of 815 million euros (£702 million) as traffic fell 81% from 149 million passengers to 27.5 million due to the pandemic.
But the Ireland-based low-cost airline said in a statement it expects to benefit from a “strong rebound of pent up travel demand” through the second half of 2021.
It is looking to returning to pre-Covid growth in summer 2022 with the help of the delivery of Boeing 737 “Gamechanger” aircraft and new bases in Billund, Riga, Stockholm, Zadar and Zagreb.
It described the financial year as “the most challenging” in the firm’s 35-year history due to the pandemic.
“There was a partial recovery during summer 2020, as initial lockdowns eased, however a second Covid-19 wave in Europe followed quickly in the autumn with a third wave in spring,” Ryanair said in a statement.
“This created enormous disruptions and uncertainty for both our customers and our people, as they suffered constantly changing Government guidelines, travel bans and restrictions.
“Ryanair responded promptly, and effectively, to this crisis, by working hard to assist millions of customers with flight changes, refunds and changed travel plans.
“We minimised job losses through agreed pay cuts and participation in Government job support schemes, while at the same time keeping our pilots, cabin crew and aircraft current and ready to resume service once normality returns.”