Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair reported 95% less revenue and 99% less passengers in the first quarter of their financial year (April-June) compared to the same period of 2019, and registered the first net loss in their history.

Nevertheless, the airline expects to operate 60% of their normal August schedule and up to 70% in September, as well as clear 90% of customer cash refunds by the end of July, the company’s report released on July 27, 2020, affirms. 

Ryanair owes over €1 billion in refunds, according to The Sunday Independent and the Business Post. The airline said there are approximately 25 million passengers who are entitled to either travel v

Ryanair’s optimistic outlook is fueled in part by the net loss of €185 million being substantially smaller than previously forecasted €232 million, yet the airline is cautious about the expectations of annual profit.

“It is impossible to predict how long the Covid-19 pandemic will persist, and a 2nd wave of Covid-19 cases across Europe in late autumn (when the annual flu season commences) is our biggest fear right now,” stated the report

In another stroke of optimism Ryanair lays out its view of COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to grow its network, expanding into empty space left by other, less fortunate airlines. Adding to that, usual lashing out against “illegal state aid” – bailouts to other airlines that have received aid from their respective countries – is present in the report. 

The company also places a lot of hope into Boeing 737 MAX, expecting renewal of deliveries in late-2020 while calling the long-grounded aircraft a “gamechanger”. Such an expectation comes in contrast to other airlines shrinking their MAX orders due to the pandemic. 

While Ryanair did develop quite a few love-hate relationships over the years, the impressive rise of the company cannot be undermined. But one period might have been the most crucial one in the company's history.