As filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on July 27, 2021
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the Fiscal Year Ended: March 31, 2021
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT/ TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Date of event requiring this shell company report:___________
For the transition period from _________ to _________
Commission file number: 000-29304
Ryanair Holdings plc
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Ryanair Holdings plc
(Translation of registrant’s name into English)
Republic of Ireland
(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
c/o Ryanair DAC
Airside Business Park, Swords
County Dublin, K67 NY94, Ireland
(Address of principal executive offices)
Please see “Item 4. Information on the Company” herein.
(Name, telephone, e-mail and/or facsimile number and address of company contact person)
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act.
Title of each class
Name of each exchange on which registered
American Depositary Shares, each representing five Ordinary Shares
The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC
Ordinary Shares, par value 0.6 euro cent per share
The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC (not for trading but only in connection with the registration of the American Depositary Shares)
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act:
Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the Annual Report.
1,128,062,028 Ordinary Shares
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
Yes ☑ No ☐
If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
Yes ☐ No ☑
Note – Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from their obligations under those Sections.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
Yes ☑ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).
Yes ☑ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Large accelerated filer ☑
Accelerated filer ☐
Non-accelerated filer ☐
Emerging growth company ☐
If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.
† The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:
U.S. GAAP ☐
International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board ☑
If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement Item the registrant has elected to follow
Item 17 ☐ Item 18 ☐
If this is an Annual Report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).
Yes ☐ No ☑
(APPLICABLE ONLY TO ISSUERS INVOLVED IN BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS DURING THE PAST FIVE YEARS)
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed all documents and reports required to be filed by Section 12, 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 subsequent to the distribution of securities under a plan confirmed by a court.
Yes ☐ No ☐
TABLE OF CONTENTS
As used herein, the term “Ryanair Holdings” refers to Ryanair Holdings plc. The term the “Company” refers to Ryanair Holdings or Ryanair Holdings together with its consolidated subsidiaries, as the context requires. The term “Ryanair” refers to Ryanair DAC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ryanair Holdings, together with its consolidated subsidiaries, unless the context requires otherwise. The term “Ryanair Group” refers to the wholly owned subsidiary airlines of Ryanair Holdings, including Ryanair Sun S.A. (“Buzz”), Malta Air Limited, Laudamotion GmbH (“Lauda”), Ryanair DAC, and Ryanair U.K. Limited. The term “fiscal year” refers to the 12-month period ended on March 31 of the quoted year. The term “Ordinary Shares” refers to the outstanding par value 0.600 euro cent per share common stock of the Company. All references to “Ireland” herein are references to the Republic of Ireland. All references to the “U.K.” herein are references to the United Kingdom and all references to the “United States” or “U.S.” herein are references to the United States of America. References to “U.S. dollars,” “dollars,” “$” or “U.S. cents” are to the currency of the United States, references to “U.K. pound sterling,” “U.K. £” and “£” are to the currency of the U.K. and references to “€,” “euro,” “euros” and “euro cent” are to the euro, the common currency of nineteen member states of the European Union (the “EU”), including Ireland. Various amounts and percentages set out in this Annual Report on Form 20-F have been rounded and accordingly may not total.
The Company owns or otherwise has rights to the trademark Ryanair® in certain jurisdictions. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—Trademarks.” This report also makes reference to trade names and trademarks of companies other than the Company.
The Company publishes its annual and interim consolidated financial statements in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (“IASB”). Additionally, in accordance with its legal obligation to comply with the International Accounting Standards Regulation (EC 1606 (2002)), which applies throughout the EU, the consolidated financial statements of the Company must comply with International Financial Reporting Standards as adopted by the EU. Accordingly, the Company’s consolidated financial statements and the selected financial data included herein comply with International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the IASB and also International Financial Reporting Standards as adopted by the EU, in each case as in effect for the year ended and as of March 31, 2021 (collectively referred to as “IFRS” throughout).
The Company publishes its consolidated financial statements in euro. Solely for the convenience of the reader, this report contains translations of certain euro amounts into U.S. dollars at specified rates. These translations should not be construed as representations that the converted amounts actually represent such U.S. dollar amounts or could be converted into U.S. dollars at the rates indicated or at any other rate. Unless otherwise indicated, such U.S. dollar amounts have been translated from euro at a rate of €1.00 = $1.1743, or $1.00 = €0.8516, the official rate published by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board in its weekly “H.10” release (the “Federal Reserve Rate”) on March 31, 2021. The Federal Reserve Rate for euro on June 30, 2021 was €1.00 = $1.1848 or $1.00 = €0.8440. See “Item 3. Key Information—Exchange Rates” for information regarding historical rates of exchange relevant to the Company, and “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” and “Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk” for a discussion of the effects of changes in exchange rates on the Company.
Except for the historical statements and discussions contained herein, statements contained in this report constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). Forward-looking statements may include words such as “expect,” “estimate,” “project,” “anticipate,” “should,” “intend,” and similar expressions or variations on such expressions. Any filing made by the Company with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) may include forward-looking statements. In addition, other written or oral statements which constitute forward-looking statements have been made and may in the future be made by or on behalf of the Company, including statements concerning its future operating and financial performance, the Company’s share of new and existing markets, general industry and economic trends and the Company’s performance relative thereto and the Company’s expectations as to requirements for capital expenditures and regulatory matters. The Company’s business is to provide a low-fares airline service in Europe and North Africa, and its outlook is predominantly based on its interpretation of what it considers to be the key economic factors affecting that business and the European economy. Forward-looking statements with regard to the Company’s business rely on a number of assumptions concerning future events and are subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the Company’s control, that could cause actual results to differ materially from such statements. It is not reasonably possible to itemize all the many factors and specific events that could affect the outlook and results of an airline operating in the European economy. Among the factors that are subject to change and could significantly impact the Company’s expected results are the airline pricing environment, fuel costs, competition from new and existing carriers, market prices for replacement aircraft and aircraft maintenance services, aircraft availability, “Brexit” (as defined below), costs associated with environmental, safety and security measures, significant outbreaks of airborne disease and global pandemics such as Covid-19, terrorist attacks, cyber-attacks, actions of the Irish, U.K., EU and other governments and their respective regulatory agencies, dependence on external service providers and key personnel, fluctuations in currency exchange rates and interest rates, fluctuations in corporate tax rates, changes to the structure of the European Union and the euro, airport handling and access charges, litigation, labor relations, the economic environment of the airline industry, the general economic environment in Europe, the general willingness of passengers to travel, continued acceptance of low fares airlines and flight interruptions caused by Air Traffic Controllers (“ATC”) strikes and staff shortages, extreme weather events or other atmospheric disruptions. The Company disclaims any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Ryanair Holdings operates a low fare, low cost scheduled airline group serving short-haul, point-to-point routes from 86 bases to airports across Europe and North Africa, which together are referred to as “Ryanair’s bases.” For a list of these bases, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—Route System, Scheduling and Fares.” Ryanair pioneered the low-fares air travel model in Europe in the early 1990s. As of June 30, 2021, the Ryanair Group had a fleet of 422 owned Boeing 737s, including 3 Boeing 737-8200 “Gamechanger” aircraft. In addition, the Group had 29 leased Airbus A320 aircraft. Prior to the grounding of aircraft in March 2020, as a result of EU governments reactions to the spread of Covid-19, the Group offered over 2,500 short-haul flights per day serving over 240 airports across Europe and North Africa. It is anticipated that similar capacity will be offered over the next twelve months, subject to the timing of the removal of government lockdown restrictions and assuming such lockdown and travel restrictions are not re-imposed. Ryanair is Europe’s greenest, cleanest major airline group and customers switching to fly Ryanair can reduce their CO₂ emissions by up to 50% compared to the other Big 4 European major airlines. A detailed description of the Company’s business can be found in “Item 4. Information on the Company.”
The following tables set forth certain of the Company’s selected consolidated financial information as of and for the periods indicated. Financial information presented in euro in the table below has been derived from the consolidated financial statements that are prepared in accordance with IFRS. The financial information for fiscal year 2021 has been translated from € to U.S.$ using the Federal Reserve Rate on March 31, 2021. This information should be read in conjunction with: (i) the audited consolidated financial statements of the Company and related notes thereto included in Item 18 and (ii) “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects.”
Income Statement Data:
Fiscal year ended March 31,
(in millions, except per-Ordinary Share data)
Total operating revenues
Total operating expenses
(Loss)/profit before taxation
Tax expense on (loss)/profit
(Loss)/profit after taxation
Ryanair Holdings basic earnings per Ordinary Share (U.S. dollars)/(euros)
Ryanair Holdings diluted earnings per Ordinary Share (U.S. dollars)/(euros)
Balance Sheet Data:
As of March 31,
Cash and cash equivalents
Current and long-term debt, including lease obligations
Issued share capital
Weighted Average Number of Ordinary Shares in issue during the year
Cash Flow Statement Data:
Fiscal year ended March 31,
Net cash (outflow)/inflow from operating activities**
Net cash inflow/(outflow) from investing activities
Net cash inflow/(outflow) from financing activities**
Increase/(decrease) in cash and cash equivalents
*includes amendments to trade payables and capital expenditure. See note 1 of the financial statements for further detail
**Amounts are inclusive of net foreign currency differences
|(a)||Dollar amounts are initially measured in euro in accordance with IFRS and then translated to U.S.$ solely for convenience at the Federal Reserve Rate on March 31, 2021 of €1.00 = $1.1743 or $1.00 = €0.8516.|
The following tables set forth certain operating data of Ryanair for each of the fiscal years shown. Such data are derived from the Company’s consolidated financial statements prepared in accordance with IFRS and from certain other data, and are not audited. For definitions of the terms used in this table, see the Glossary in Appendix A.
Fiscal Year ended March 31,
Break-even Load Factor
Average Booked Passenger Fare (€)
Ancillary Rev. per Booked Passenger (€)
Total Rev. per Booked Passenger (€)
Cost Per Booked Passenger (€)
Average Fuel Cost per U.S. Gallon (€)
Fiscal Year ended March 31,
Revenue Passengers Booked (millions)
Booked Passenger Load Factor
Average Sector Length (miles)
Number of Airports Served at Period End
Average Daily Flight Hour Utilization (hours)
Team Members at Period End
Team Members per Aircraft at Period End
Risks Related to the Company
The Covid-19 pandemic and measures to reduce its spread have had, and will likely continue to have, a material adverse impact on the Company’s business, results of operations, financial condition and liquidity. In December 2019, a novel strain of coronavirus (“Covid-19”) was reported in Wuhan, China, and the World Health Organization (“WHO”) subsequently declared Covid-19 a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern”. Since February 2020, governments globally have implemented a range of travel restrictions including lockdowns, “do not travel” advisories, restrictions on travel from certain international locations, enhanced airport screenings, mandatory quarantine requirements, and other similar measures. Other governmental restrictions and regulations in the future in response to Covid-19 could include additional travel restrictions, quarantines of additional populations (including the Company’s personnel), restrictions on our ability to access our facilities or aircraft or requirements to collect additional passenger data. In addition, governments, non-governmental organizations and entities in the private sector have issued and may continue to issue non-binding advisories or recommendations regarding air travel or other social distancing measures, including limitations on the number of persons that should be present at public gatherings. Finally, wariness among the public of travel by aircraft due to the perceived risk of health impacts, as well as cancelations of conventions, conferences, sporting events, concerts and other similar events, the closure of popular tourist destinations and the increased use of videoconferencing, have resulted in an unprecedented decline in business and leisure travel. There is no indication of when these restrictions may be fully lifted, whether they will be fully or partly reimposed or when demand may return to pre-pandemic levels.
Ryanair began experiencing a substantial decline in international and domestic demand related to Covid-19 during the quarter ended March 31, 2020, and this reduction in demand has continued throughout FY21 and into the first half of FY22. There is no clarity as to when demand for air travel will recover to pre-pandemic levels. The Company has taken a number of actions in response to decreased demand and EU flight restrictions, including grounding a substantial portion of its fleet, reducing flight schedules and reducing capital and operating expenditures (including by postponing projects deemed non-critical to the Company's operations, cancelling share buybacks, implementing restructurings, controlling discretionary spending, and renegotiating contractual terms and conditions (including salaries) with personnel, airports, aircraft suppliers and vendors). The Company may also take additional actions to improve its financial position, including measures to improve liquidity. Ryanair's reduction in expenditures, measures to improve liquidity or other strategic actions that it may take in the future in response to Covid-19 may not be effective in offsetting decreased demand, which could result in a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, results of operations, financial condition and liquidity.
In addition, Ryanair has incurred, and will continue to incur, significant Covid-19 related costs for enhanced aircraft cleaning and additional procedures to limit transmission among its personnel and customers. Although these procedures are currently elective, the industry may in the future be subject to further cleaning and safety measures, which may be costly and take a significant amount of time to implement. These measures, individually and combined, could have a material adverse impact on the Company’s business.
The full extent of the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on the Company’s longer-term operational and financial performance will depend on future developments, many of which are outside of the Company’s control, including the duration and spread of Covid-19 and related travel advisories and restrictions, the impact of Covid-19 on overall long-term demand for air travel, the impact of Covid-19 on the financial health and operations of the Company’s business partners (particularly Boeing), and future governmental actions, all of which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted. Even after the Covid-19 pandemic has moderated and the enhanced screenings, quarantine requirements and travel restrictions have eased, the Company may continue to experience similar adverse effects to its businesses, results of operations, financial position and cash flows resulting from a recessionary global economic environment that may persist. Finally, an outbreak of another disease or similar public health threat, or fear of such an event, that affects travel demand, travel behavior or travel restrictions could have a material adverse impact on the Company's business, financial condition
and operating results. Outbreaks of other diseases could also result in increased government restrictions and regulation, such as those actions described above or otherwise, which could adversely affect the Company’s operations.
Covid-19 has disrupted the Company’s strategic growth plans. Covid-19 has disrupted the Company’s strategic growth plans in the near term, and there are risks to its business, operating results and financial condition associated with executing its strategic growth plans in the long term. In developing its strategic growth plans, the Company makes certain assumptions, including, but not limited to, those related to customer demand, competition, market consolidation, the availability of aircraft and the global economy. Actual economic, market and other conditions have been and may continue to be different from its assumptions. Demand has been, and is expected to continue to be, significantly impacted by Covid-19, which has materially disrupted the timely execution of the Company’s strategic operating plans, including plans to add capacity in fiscal year 2022. If the Company does not successfully execute or adjust its strategic growth plans in the long term, or if actual results continue to vary significantly from its prior assumptions or vary significantly from its future assumptions, the Company’s business, operating results and financial condition could be materially and adversely impacted.
Ryanair is subject to cyber security risks and may incur increasing costs in an effort to minimize those risks. As almost all of Ryanair’s reservations are made through its website and mobile app, security breaches could expose it to a risk of loss or misuse of customer information, litigation and potential liability. A third-party service organization is used for the reservation process which is also subject to cyber security risks. Ryanair secures its website and follows the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cyber Security Framework. Nevertheless, the security measures which have been or will be implemented may not be effective, and Ryanair’s systems may be vulnerable to theft, loss, damage and interruption from a number of potential sources and events, including unauthorized access or security breaches, cyber-attacks, computer viruses, power loss, or other disruptive events. Ryanair may not have the resources or technical sophistication to anticipate or prevent rapidly evolving types of cyber-attacks. Attacks may be targeted at Ryanair, its customers and suppliers, or others who have entrusted it with information.
Ryanair is subject to increasingly complex data protection laws and regulations. Ryanair’s business involves the processing and storage on a large scale of personal data relating to its customers, employees, business partners and others. Ryanair is subject to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (the “GDPR”) (which became fully applicable on May 25, 2018) as well as relevant national implementing legislation (Irish Data Protection Act 2018), which impose a number of significant obligations and requirements upon subject companies. Ensuring compliance with data protection laws is an ongoing commitment which involves substantial costs, and it is possible that, despite Ryanair’s efforts, governmental authorities or third parties will assert that Ryanair’s business practices fail to comply with these laws and regulations. If its operations are found to be in violation of any of such laws and regulations, Ryanair may be subject to significant civil, criminal and administrative damages, penalties and fines, as well as reputational harm, which could have a material adverse effect on its business, financial condition or results of operations.
Changes in fuel costs and availability affect the Company’s results. Jet fuel is subject to wide price fluctuations as a result of many economic and political factors and events occurring throughout the world that Ryanair can neither control nor accurately predict, including increases in demand, sudden disruptions in supply and other concerns about global supply, as well as market speculation. Oil prices in fiscal year 2021 decreased when compared to fiscal year 2020, although they have started to rise in fiscal year 2022. As international prices for jet fuel are denominated in U.S. dollars, Ryanair’s fuel costs are also subject to certain exchange rate risks. Substantial price increases, adverse exchange rates, or the unavailability of adequate fuel supplies, including, without limitation, any such events resulting from international terrorism, prolonged hostilities in the Middle East or other oil-producing regions or the suspension of production by any significant producer, may adversely affect Ryanair’s profitability. In the event of a fuel shortage resulting from a disruption of oil imports or otherwise, additional increases in fuel prices or a curtailment of scheduled services could result.
Ryanair has historically, prior to the Covid-19 crisis, entered into hedging arrangements providing for substantial protection against fluctuations in fuel prices, generally through forward contracts covering periods of up to 24 months of
anticipated jet fuel requirements. There is no assurance that Ryanair will hedge fuel to the same extent in the future. Ryanair is exposed to risks arising from fluctuations in the price of fuel, and movements in the euro/U.S. dollar exchange rate because of the limited nature of its hedging program, especially in light of recent volatility in the relevant currency and commodity markets. Any movements in fuel costs could have a material adverse effect on Ryanair’s financial performance. In addition, any strengthening of the U.S. dollar against the euro could have an adverse effect on the cost of buying fuel in euro.
No assurances whatsoever can be given about trends in fuel prices. Average fuel prices for future years may be significantly higher than current prices. There also cannot be any assurance that Ryanair’s current or any future arrangements will be adequate to protect Ryanair from increases in the price of fuel or that Ryanair will not incur losses due to high fuel prices, either alone or in combination with other factors. Because of Ryanair’s low fares and its no-fuel-surcharges policy, as well as Ryanair’s expansion plans, which could have a negative impact on yields, its ability to pass on increased fuel costs to passengers through increased fares or otherwise is somewhat limited. The expansion of Ryanair’s fleet has resulted and will likely (in coming years) continue to result in an increase in Ryanair’s aggregate fuel consumption.
Additionally, declines in the price of oil and/or capacity declines may expose Ryanair to some risk of hedging losses and hedge ineffectiveness that could lead to negative effects, including income statement volatility, on Ryanair’s financial condition and/or results of operations.
The Company may not be successful in increasing fares to cover rising business costs. Ryanair operates a low-fares airline. The success of its business model depends on its ability to control costs so as to deliver low fares while at the same time earning a profit. Ryanair has limited control over its fuel costs and already has comparatively low operating costs. In periods of high fuel costs, if Ryanair is unable to further reduce its other operating costs or generate additional revenues, operating profits are likely to fall. Furthermore, as part of its change in marketing and airport strategy, the Company expects increased marketing and advertising costs along with higher airport charges at primary airports to which it operates. Ryanair cannot offer any assurances regarding its future profitability. Changes in fuel costs and availability could have a material adverse impact on Ryanair’s results. See “—The Company faces significant price and other pressures in a highly competitive environment” and “—Changes in Fuel Costs and Availability Affect the Company’s Results”.
The Company faces significant price and other pressures in a highly competitive environment. Ryanair operates in a highly competitive marketplace, with a number of low-fare, traditional and charter airlines competing throughout its route network. Airlines compete primarily in respect of fare levels, frequency and dependability of service, name recognition, passenger amenities (such as access to frequent flyer programs), and the availability and convenience of other passenger services. Unlike Ryanair, certain competitors are state-owned or state-controlled flag carriers and in some cases may have greater name recognition and resources and may have received, or may receive in the future, significant amounts of subsidies and other state aid from their respective governments as happened (and may continue to happen) during the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, the EU-U.S. Open Skies Agreement allows U.S. carriers to offer services in the intra-EU market, which could eventually result in increased competition in the EU market. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—Government Regulation—European Union.”
The airline industry is highly susceptible to price discounting, in part because airlines incur very low marginal costs for providing service to passengers occupying otherwise unsold seats. Both low-fare and traditional airlines sometimes offer low fares in direct competition with Ryanair across a significant proportion of its route network as a result of the liberalization of the EU air transport market and greater public acceptance of the low-fares model. There is no guarantee that lower fuel prices will not lead to greater price competition and encourage new entrants to the market in the short to medium term.
In addition to traditional competition among airline companies and charter operators who have entered the low-fares market, the industry also faces competition from ground transportation (including high-speed rail systems) and sea transportation alternatives, as businesses and recreational travelers seek substitutes for air travel.
Although Ryanair intends to assert its rights against any predatory pricing or other similar conduct, price competition both among airlines and between airlines and ground and sea transportation alternatives could reduce the level of fares and/or passenger traffic on Ryanair’s routes to the point where profitability may not be achievable.
Ryanair has a significant amount of debt and fixed obligations, and insufficient liquidity may have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial condition. Ryanair carries, and will continue to carry for the foreseeable future, a substantial amount of debt related to aircraft financing commitments, as well as commitments for maintenance and other obligations. Although the Company has historically been able to generate sufficient cash flow from operations to pay debt and other fixed obligations when they become due, the impacts of Covid-19 and other risks described in this report may limit the Company’s ability to do so in the future and may adversely affect its overall liquidity. As a result, the Company has incurred and will continue to seek new financing sources to fund its operations for the unknown duration of any economic recovery period. Although the Company has issued two Eurobonds (for an aggregate nominal amount of €2.05bn) in the period since September 1, 2020, volatility and uncertainty in the global markets generally, and the air transportation industry specifically, may make it difficult for Ryanair to raise additional capital on acceptable terms, or at all. Additionally, future debt agreements may contain more restrictive covenants or require security beyond historical market terms, which may restrict Ryanair’s ability to successfully access capital.
If the Company’s liquidity is materially diminished, it may not be able to timely pay aircraft leases and debts or comply with certain covenants under its financing agreements or with other material provisions of its contractual obligations. In addition, in light of the affect Covid-19 is having on demand and, in turn, capacity, Ryanair has seen an increase in demand from consumers for refunds on their tickets and/or waiver of change fees, and Ryanair anticipates this will continue to be the case for the near future. Refunds and waivers lower the Company’s liquidity. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Liquidity and Capital Resources” for additional information regarding the Company's liquidity as of March 31, 2021.
The Company faces legal challenges by regulatory authorities and consumers due to delays in the processing of cash refunds during the Covid-19 pandemic and its policy of offering travel vouchers in lieu of cash refunds in the interim. EU Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 requires airlines to offer passengers affected by a flight cancellation the option to choose between re-routing to their final destination at the earliest opportunity and reimbursement of their ticket price within seven days. The reimbursement may be issued in cash or, where the passenger so accepts, in the form of a travel voucher. Ryanair experienced considerable delays in processing cash refunds in the first few months of the Covid-19 crisis due to staff shortage linked to lockdown restrictions and an unprecedented high rate of flight cancellations. From June 2020 onwards, staff began to return to the office in the Company’s customer service centers, which allowed Ryanair to clear the backlog of cash refund requests by the end of the summer and to begin processing the majority of cash refund requests within seven days. The initial delay in processing cash refunds has led Ryanair to consider the alternative of offering travel vouchers to passengers who claimed reimbursement, with passengers retaining the ability to request that their voucher be redeemed for cash at any time. Ryanair believes that its policy was in line with the requirements of the ‘European Commission’s Recommendation (EU) 2020/648 of 13 May 2020 on vouchers offered to passengers and travelers as an alternative to reimbursement for cancelled package travel and transport services in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic’ (“the Recommendation”), in which the Commission recognized airlines’ right to offer travel vouchers as long as the offer does not affect passengers’ right to opt for a cash refund instead.
While national authorities responsible for the enforcement of EU Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 have generally recognized Ryanair’s efforts and accepted that the seven days’ deadline provided for by the Regulation to process refunds should be interpreted in a reasonable manner in light of the circumstances of the Covid-19 crisis, there is a risk that some authorities or courts may find Ryanair’s inability during the initial stages of the Covid-19 pandemic to process refunds within a timeframe acceptable to them, or certain terms of the Company’s travel vouchers, to be in breach of the
Regulation. Further, some consumer protection enforcement authorities or courts may find Ryanair’s decision to encourage passengers to accept travel vouchers in lieu of a cash refund to amount to a breach of the information obligations contained in the Regulation and/or a misleading commercial practice.
Ryanair has seasonally grounded aircraft. In prior years, in response to typically lower traffic and yields from November to March (inclusive) (“winter”), higher airport charges and/or taxes and, at times, higher fuel prices, Ryanair adopted a policy of grounding a certain portion of its fleet during the winter months. Ryanair carries out the majority of scheduled heavy maintenance during the winter months which also results in the grounding of aircraft. In the winter of fiscal year 2021, due to Covid-19, the majority of Ryanair aircraft were grounded. During this period, aircraft were typically flown each week to remain “current” in line with approved Boeing procedures. The Company intends to ground aircraft in fiscal year 2022 although the number of aircraft grounded may be lower than in the previous year due to the gradual ramp up of capacity following the return of flight operations after Covid-19 related aircraft groundings in fiscal year 2021, coupled with the winter 2021 heavy maintenance program. Ryanair’s policy of seasonally grounding aircraft presents some risks. While Ryanair seeks to implement its seasonal grounding policy in a way that will allow it to reduce the negative impact on operating income by operating flights during periods of high oil prices to high cost airports at low winter yields, there can be no assurance that this strategy will be successful.
While seasonal grounding does reduce Ryanair’s variable operating costs, it does not avoid fixed costs such as aircraft ownership costs, and it also decreases Ryanair’s potential to earn ancillary revenues. Decreasing the number and frequency of flights may also negatively affect Ryanair’s labor relations, including its ability to attract flight personnel interested in year-round employment. Such risks could lead to negative effects on Ryanair’s financial condition and/or results of operations.
The Company will incur significant costs acquiring new aircraft and any instability in the credit and capital markets could negatively impact Ryanair’s ability to obtain financing on acceptable terms. Ryanair’s continued growth is dependent upon its ability to acquire additional aircraft to meet additional capacity needs and to replace older aircraft. Ryanair had 451 aircraft in its fleet at March 31, 2021 and has ordered an additional 210 Boeing 737-8200 aircraft for delivery during fiscal years 2022 to 2025 inclusive, pursuant to a contract with the Boeing Company (“Boeing,” and such contract inclusive of subsequent amendments, the “2014 Boeing Contract”). Ryanair expects to have approximately 600 narrow-body aircraft in its fleet following delivery of all the Boeing 737-8200 aircraft, depending on the level of lease returns, Boeing’s ability to fulfill the 2014 Boeing Contract and aircraft disposals. For additional information on the Company’s aircraft fleet and expansion plans, see “—A majority of Ryanair’s aircraft and certain parts are sourced from a single supplier; therefore, Ryanair would be materially and adversely affected if such supplier were unable to provide additional equipment or support,” and “Item 4. Information on the Company—Aircraft” and “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Liquidity and Capital Resources”. There can be no assurance that this planned expansion will not outpace the growth of passenger traffic on Ryanair’s routes or that traffic growth will not prove to be greater than the expanded fleet can accommodate. In either case, such developments could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, results of operations, and financial condition.
As a result of a 2013 purchase agreement with Boeing (the “2013 Boeing Contract”), the 2014 Boeing Contract and other general corporate purposes, Ryanair has raised and expects to continue to raise substantial debt financing. Ryanair’s ability to raise unsecured or secured debt to pay for aircraft is subject to potential volatility in the worldwide financial markets. Additionally, Ryanair’s ability to raise unsecured or secured debt to pay for aircraft as they are delivered is subject to various conditions imposed by the counterparties and debt markets to such loan facilities and related loan guarantees, and any future financing is expected to be subject to similar conditions. Any failure by Ryanair to comply with such conditions and any failure to raise necessary amounts of unsecured or secured debt to pay for aircraft, would have a material adverse effect on its results of operations and financial condition.
Using the debt capital markets to finance the Company requires the Company to retain its investment grade credit ratings (the Company has a BBB credit rating from both S&P and Fitch Ratings). There is a risk that the Group will be unable, or unwilling, to access these markets if it is downgraded or is unable to retain its investment grade credit
ratings and this could lead to a higher cost of finance for the Group and a material adverse effect on its results and financial condition.
Ryanair has also entered into significant derivative transactions intended to hedge some of its aircraft acquisition-related debt obligations. These derivative transactions expose Ryanair to certain risks and could have adverse effects on its results of operations and financial condition. See “Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk.”
Currency fluctuations affect the Company’s results. Although the Company is headquartered in Ireland, a significant portion of its operations are conducted in the U.K. Consequently, the Group has significant operating revenues and operating expenses, as well as assets and liabilities, denominated in U.K. pounds sterling. In addition, fuel, aircraft, insurance, aircraft leases and some maintenance obligations are denominated in U.S. dollars. Ryanair’s operations and financial performance can therefore be significantly affected by fluctuations in the values of the U.K. pound sterling and the U.S. dollar. Ryanair is particularly vulnerable to direct exchange rate risks between the euro and the U.S. dollar because a significant portion of its operating costs are incurred in U.S. dollars and substantially none of its revenues are denominated in U.S. dollars.
Although the Company engages in foreign currency hedging transactions between the euro and the U.S. dollar and, from time to time, between the euro and the U.K. pound sterling, hedging activities are not expected to eliminate currency risks. See “Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk.”
The continuing uncertainty associated with the Brexit process could adversely affect Ryanair’s business. The U.K.’s exit from the European Union on January 31, 2020 has had a significant impact on the U.K. and the EU. Further, the implementation period under which the U.K. remained subject to EU law for a limited period after the exit from the European Union ended on December 31, 2020. The U.K. and the European Union announced on December 24, 2020 that they had reached agreement on a Trade and Cooperation Agreement (the “EU–U.K. TCA”). The EU–U.K. TCA covers a wide range of topics, including trade in goods and in services, digital trade, intellectual property, public procurement, aviation and road transport, energy, fisheries, social security coordination, law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, and thematic cooperation and participation in EU programs.
The current and future arrangements between the EU and the U.K., including the EU–U.K. TCA, could directly impact Ryanair’s business in a number of ways. They include, inter alia, the status of the U.K. in relation to the EU’s open air transport market, freedom of movement between the U.K. and the EU, and employment, social security, tax and customs rules between the U.K. and the EU. Adverse changes to any of these arrangements could potentially materially impact on Ryanair’s financial condition and results of operations in the U.K. or other markets Ryanair serves.
As a result of the EU–U.K. TCA, flights between the U.K. and the EU can be offered by any of the Company’s airline subsidiaries. U.K. domestic flights and flights between the U.K. and non-EU destinations can, however, only be operated by the Company’s U.K. subsidiary, Ryanair U.K. Limited (“Ryanair U.K.”), which received an Air Operator Certificate and Operating License (“U.K. AOC”) from the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority (“U.K. CAA”) in December 2018.
Ryanair is exposed to Brexit-related risks and uncertainties, as approximately 15% of revenue in fiscal year 2021 came from operations in the U.K., although this was offset somewhat by approximately 13% of Ryanair’s non-fuel costs in fiscal year 2021 which were related to operations in the U.K.
Brexit could also present Ryanair with a number of potential regulatory challenges. Brexit could lead to potentially divergent national laws and regulations as the U.K. determines which EU laws (including, but not limited to, in respect of aviation safety and security, consumer rights, data protection, public health and the environment) to replace or replicate. It also requires special efforts to ensure Ryanair’s continuing compliance with EU Regulation No. 1008/2008, which requires that air carriers registered in EU member states be majority-owned and effectively controlled by EU nationals. The Board of Directors has taken action to ensure continuing compliance with EU Regulation No. 1008/2008
after December 31, 2020, i.e., the date following which U.K. holders of the Company’s shares are no longer treated as EU nationals for the purposes of EU regulation No. 1008/2008. For additional information, please see “–Risks Related to Ownership of the Company’s Ordinary Shares or ADRs”.
Brexit has caused, and may continue to cause, both significant volatility in global stock markets and currency exchange rate fluctuations, as well as create significant uncertainty among U.K. businesses and investors. In particular, to June 30 2021, the pound sterling had lost approximately 7% and 11% of its value against the U.S. Dollar and the euro respectively since the Referendum. Further, the Bank of England and other observers have warned of a significant probability of a Brexit-related recession in the U.K., which may be further impacted by the negative economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Company earns a significant portion of its revenues in pounds sterling, and any significant decline in the value of the pound and/or recession in the U.K. would materially impact its financial condition and results of operations. For the remainder of fiscal year 2022, taking account of timing differences between the receipt of sterling denominated revenues and the payment of sterling denominated costs, Ryanair estimates that every 1 pence sterling movement in the €/£ exchange rate will impact income by approximately €1 million. For additional information, please see “––Currency fluctuations affect the Company’s results”.
A majority of Ryanair’s aircraft and certain parts are sourced from a single supplier; therefore, Ryanair would be materially and adversely affected if such supplier were unable to provide additional equipment or support. Because Ryanair currently sources the majority of its aircraft and many related aircraft parts from Boeing, if Ryanair was unable to acquire additional aircraft from Boeing, or if Boeing was unable or unwilling to make timely deliveries of aircraft or to provide adequate support for its products, Ryanair’s operations could be materially and adversely affected.
Entry into service of the Boeing 737-8200. Ryanair has 210 Boeing 737-8200 aircraft on firm order from Boeing. These aircraft were originally due to commence delivery in April 2019. During fiscal year 2021, the FAA and EASA approved the ungrounding of the MAX and approved Ryanair’s variant the Boeing 737-8200. Ryanair received the first aircraft in June 2021.
There also can be no assurance that EASA will not, now or in the future, apply additional maintenance and/or, simulator training in relation to the operation of the Boeing 737-8200 aircraft, that will materially increase the cost of operating this aircraft type. In addition, should any negative public perception develop in relation to the safety of the Boeing 737-MAX aircraft series, Ryanair’s growth plans and profitability could be materially adversely affected.
The Company’s growth may expose it to risks. Ryanair’s operations have grown rapidly since it pioneered the low-fares operating model in Europe in the early 1990s. Ryanair intends to continue to expand its fleet and add new destinations and additional flights, with the goal of increasing Ryanair’s booked passenger volumes to approximately 200m passengers per annum over the next 4 to 5 years. However, no assurance can be given that this target will be met. If growth in passenger traffic and Ryanair’s revenues do not keep pace with the planned expansion of its fleet, Ryanair could suffer from overcapacity and its results of operations and financial condition (including its ability to fund scheduled purchases of the new aircraft and related debt repayments) could be materially adversely affected.
The continued expansion of Ryanair’s fleet and operations combined with other factors, may also strain existing management resources and related operational, financial, management information and information technology systems. Expansion will generally require additional skilled personnel, equipment, facilities and systems. An inability to hire skilled personnel or to secure required equipment and facilities efficiently and in a cost-effective manner may have a material adverse effect on Ryanair’s ability to achieve its growth plans and sustain or increase its profitability.
Ryanair’s new routes and expanded operations may have an adverse financial impact on its results. When Ryanair commences new routes, its load factors and fares tend to be lower than those on its established routes and its advertising and other promotional costs tend to be higher, which may result in initial losses that could have a material negative impact on Ryanair’s results of operations as well as require a substantial amount of cash to fund. In addition, there can be no assurance that Ryanair’s low-fares service will be accepted on new routes. Ryanair also periodically
runs special promotional fare campaigns, in particular in connection with the opening of new routes. Promotional fares may have the effect of increasing load factors and reducing Ryanair’s yield and passenger revenues on such routes during the periods that they are in effect. Ryanair has significant cash needs as it expands, including the cash required to fund aircraft purchases or aircraft deposits related to the acquisition of aircraft. There can be no assurance that Ryanair will have sufficient cash to make such expenditures and investments, and to the extent Ryanair is unable to expand its route system successfully, its future revenue and earnings growth will in turn be limited. See “—The Company will incur significant costs acquiring new aircraft and any instability in the credit and capital markets could negatively impact Ryanair’s ability to obtain financing on acceptable terms”.
Ryanair’s continued growth is dependent on access to suitable airports; charges for airport access are subject to increase. Airline traffic at certain European airports is regulated by a system of grandfathered “slot” allocations. Each slot represents authorization to take-off and land at the particular airport at a specified time. As part of Ryanair’s recent strategic initiatives, which include more flights to primary airports, Ryanair Group airlines are operating to an increasing number of slot coordinated airports, a number of which have constraints at particular times of the day. There can be no assurance that Ryanair will be able to obtain a sufficient number of slots at slot-coordinated airports that it may wish to serve in the future, at the time it needs them, or on acceptable terms. There can also be no assurance that its non-slot constrained bases, or the other non-slot constrained airports Ryanair serves, will continue to operate without slot allocation restrictions in the future. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—Government Regulation—Slots.” Airports may impose other operating restrictions such as curfews, limits on aircraft noise levels, mandatory flight paths, runway restrictions, and limits on the number of average daily departures. Such restrictions may limit the ability of Ryanair to provide service to, or increase service at such airports.
Ryanair’s future growth also materially depends on its ability to access suitable airports located in its targeted geographic markets at costs that are consistent with Ryanair’s strategy. Any condition that denies, limits, or delays Ryanair’s access to airports it serves or seeks to serve in the future would constrain Ryanair’s ability to grow. A change in the terms of Ryanair’s access to these facilities or any increase in the relevant charges paid by Ryanair as a result of the expiration or termination of such arrangements and Ryanair’s failure to renegotiate comparable terms or rates could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial condition and results of operations. For additional information, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—Airport Operations—Airport Charges.” See also “—The Company is subject to legal proceedings alleging state aid at certain airports” below.
Labor relations could expose the Company to risk. Ryanair announced in December 2017 its decision to recognize trade unions for collective bargaining purposes. Since then, Ryanair Group airlines have concluded Collective Labor Agreements (“CLAs”) with Trade Unions in most of their major markets. The CLAs concluded to date vary by country but include agreements on recognition, seniority, base transfers, promotions, pay and rostering arrangements. There may be a push for legacy type working conditions which if acceded to could decrease the productivity of pilots, increase costs and have an adverse effect on profitability.
In fiscal year 2021, Ryanair Group airlines concluded agreements with their people and unions on job protection and temporary pay cuts of up to 20%, with pay restored over 3-5 years as the Company works through the recovery phase of the Covid-19 pandemic. Whilst these agreements include job protection mechanisms, there may be periods of labor unrest if a deteriorating commercial position in any particular market leads to redundancies.
Ryanair intends to retain its low fare, high people productivity model; however, there may be periods of labor unrest as unions challenge the existing high people productivity model which may have an adverse effect on customer sentiment and profitability.
Ryanair has transitioned from Irish to local contracts of employment in a number of EU countries which could impact on costs, productivity and complexity of the business. Any subsequent decision to switch to lower cost locations could result in redundancies and a consequent deterioration in labor relations.
The Company is dependent on external service providers. Ryanair currently assigns its engine overhauls and “rotable” repairs to outside contractors approved under the terms of Part 145, the European regulatory standard for aircraft maintenance (“Part 145”) established by the European Aviation Safety Agency (“EASA”). The Company also assigns its passenger, aircraft and ground handling services at airports (other than Dublin, London Stansted and certain airports in Poland, Spain and Portugal) to established external service providers. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—Maintenance and Repairs—Heavy Maintenance” and “Item 4. Information on the Company—Airport Operations - Airport Handling Services.”
The termination or expiration of any of Ryanair’s service contracts or any inability to renew them or negotiate replacement contracts with other service providers at comparable rates could have a material adverse effect on the Group’s results of operations. Ryanair will need to enter into airport service agreements in any new markets it enters, and there can be no assurance that it will be able to obtain the necessary facilities and services at competitive rates. In addition, although Ryanair seeks to monitor the performance of external parties that provide passenger and aircraft handling services, the efficiency, timeliness, and quality of contract performance by external providers are largely beyond Ryanair’s direct control. Ryanair expects to be dependent on such outsourcing arrangements for the foreseeable future.
The Group is dependent on key personnel. Ryanair’s success depends to a significant extent upon the efforts and abilities of its senior management team, including Michael O’Leary, the Group CEO, and key financial, commercial, operating, IT and maintenance personnel. See “Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees—Compensation of Directors and Executive Officers—Remuneration Agreement with Mr. O’Leary.” Ryanair’s success also depends on the ability of its Executive Officers and other members of senior management to operate and manage effectively, both independently and as a Group. Although Ryanair’s employment agreements with Mr. O’Leary and several of its other Senior Executives contain non-competition and non-disclosure provisions, there can be no assurance that these provisions will be enforceable in whole or in part. Competition for highly qualified personnel is intense, and either the loss of any executive officer, senior manager, or other key employee without adequate replacement or the inability to attract new qualified personnel could have a material adverse effect upon Ryanair’s business, operating results, and financial condition.
The Company faces risks related to its internet reservations operations and its elimination of airport check-in facilities. Ryanair’s flight reservations are made through its website, mobile app and Global Distribution Systems including Travelport (which operates the Galileo and Worldspan GDS) and Sabre (collectively, the “GDSs”) (GDSs). Ryanair has established contingency programs which include migrating its website to the cloud and having a back-up booking engine available to support its existing booking platform in the event of a breakdown in this facility. Nonetheless, the process of switching over to the back-up booking engine could take some time and there can be no assurance that Ryanair would not suffer a significant loss of reservations in the event of a major breakdown of its booking engine or other related systems.
All Ryanair passengers are required to use Internet check-in. Internet check-in is part of a package of measures intended to reduce check-in lines and passenger handling costs and pass on these savings by reducing passenger airfares. Ryanair has deployed this system across its network. Any disruptions to the Internet check-in service as a result of a breakdown in the relevant computer systems or otherwise could have a material adverse impact on these service-improvement and cost-reduction efforts. There can be no assurance, however, that this process will continue to be successful or that consumers will not switch to other carriers that provide standard check-in facilities, which would negatively affect Ryanair’s results of operations and financial condition.
The Group is subject to legal proceedings alleging state aid at certain airports. Formal investigations are ongoing by the European Commission into Ryanair’s agreements with the Paris (Beauvais), La Rochelle, Carcassonne, Girona, Reus, Târgu Mures and Beziers airports, and Ryanair’s agreements from 2009 with Frankfurt (Hahn) airport. The investigations seek to determine whether the agreements constitute illegal state aid under EU law. The investigations are currently expected to be completed in 2021, with the European Commission’s decisions being appealable to the EU General Court. Between 2010 and 2020, investigations into Ryanair’s agreements with the Bratislava, Tampere,
Marseille, Berlin (Schönefeld), Aarhus, Dusseldorf (Weeze), Brussels (Charleroi), Alghero, Stockholm (Västerås), Lübeck and Riga airports, and into Ryanair’s agreements prior to 2009 with Frankfurt (Hahn), concluded with findings that these agreements contained no state aid. Between 2014 and 2020, the European Commission announced findings of state aid to Ryanair in its arrangements with Pau, Nimes, Angouleme, Altenburg, Zweibrücken, Cagliari, Klagenfurt and Montpellier airports, ordering Ryanair to repay a total of approximately €32m of alleged state aid. Ryanair appealed eight of these “aid” decisions to the EU General Court, which ruled in favor of the European Commission in four of the cases, in Ryanair’s favor in one of the cases, and the remaining three cases are pending before the General Court.
In late 2018, the General Court upheld the European Commission’s findings regarding Ryanair’s arrangements with Pau, Nimes, Angouleme and Altenburg airports, and overturned the European Commission’s finding regarding Ryanair’s arrangement with Zweibrücken airport. Ryanair appealed these four negative findings to the European Court of Justice but discontinued the appeals in 2019 after the Court decided to proceed without oral hearings. The appeal proceedings before the General Court regarding Ryanair’s arrangements with Klagenfurt airport are expected to conclude in 2021, and the appeal proceedings before the General Court regarding Ryanair’s arrangements with Cagliari and Montpellier airports are expected to conclude in 2022 or 2023. In addition to the European Commission investigations, Ryanair is facing an allegation that it has benefited from unlawful state aid in a German court case in relation to its arrangements with Frankfurt (Hahn). Adverse rulings in the above state aid matters could be used as precedents by competitors to challenge Ryanair’s agreements with other publicly owned airports and could cause Ryanair to strongly reconsider its growth strategy in relation to public or state-owned airports across Europe. This could in turn lead to a scaling-back of Ryanair’s overall growth strategy due to the smaller number of privately-owned airports available for development.
No assurance can be given as to the outcome of these legal proceedings, nor as to whether any unfavorable outcomes may, individually or in the aggregate, have a material adverse effect on the results of operations or financial condition of Ryanair.
For additional information, please see “Item 8. Financial Information—Other Financial Information—Legal Proceedings.”
The Company faces risks related to unauthorized use of information from the Company’s website. Screenscraper websites gain unauthorized access to Ryanair’s website and booking system, extract flight and pricing information and display it on their own websites for sale to customers at prices which may include hidden intermediary fees on top of Ryanair’s fares. Ryanair does not allow any such commercial use of its website and objects to the practice of screenscraping also on the basis of certain legal principles, such as database rights and copyright protection, etc. Ryanair is currently involved in a number of legal proceedings against the proprietors of screenscraper websites in Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, and the US. Ryanair’s objective is to prevent any unauthorized use of its website and to prevent consumer harm, and the resultant reputational damage to the Company, that may arise due to the failure by some operators of screenscraper websites to provide Ryanair with the passengers’ genuine contact and payment method details. Ryanair does allow certain companies who operate fare comparison (i.e. not reselling) websites to access its schedule and fare information for the purposes of price comparison provided they sign a license and use the agreed method to access the data. Ryanair also permits Travelport (trading as Galileo and Worldspan) and Sabre, GDS operators, to provide access to Ryanair’s fares to traditional and corporate travel agencies. Ryanair has obtained both favorable and unfavorable rulings in its actions in EU member states against screenscrapers. However, pending the outcome of these legal proceedings and if Ryanair were to be ultimately unsuccessful in them, the activities of screenscraper websites could lead to a reduction in the number of customers who book directly on Ryanair’s website and consequently to a reduction in Ryanair’s ancillary revenue stream. Also, some customers may be lost to Ryanair once they are presented by a screenscraper website with a Ryanair fare inflated by the screenscraper’s intermediary fee. This could also adversely affect Ryanair’s reputation as a low-fares airline, which could negatively affect Ryanair’s results of operations and financial conditions.
For additional details, see “Item 8. Financial Information—Other Financial Information—Legal Proceedings—Legal Proceedings Against Internet Ticket Touts.”
Corporation tax rates could rise. The Company is principally subject to corporation tax on profits across a number of EU jurisdictions from which its airlines are managed and controlled (i.e. Ireland, Malta, Poland, and the U.K.). There continues to be a risk that governments could look at increasing corporation tax rates in the future. In particular, in July 2021, 131 countries supported OECD proposals to introduce a global minimum corporation tax rate (of at least 15%) and the Company is keeping any developments in this area under review.
Any increase in corporation tax rates to which the Company is exposed, or adverse changes in the basis of calculation would result in the Company paying higher corporation taxes and could have an adverse impact on Ryanair’s cash flows, financial position and results of operations.
Change in EU regulations in relation to employers and employee social insurance could increase costs. European legislation governs the country in which employees and employers must pay social insurance costs. Under the terms of legislation introduced in 2012, employees and employers must pay social insurance in the country where the employee is based. Prior to June 2012, Ryanair paid employee and employer social insurance in the country under whose laws the employee’s contract of employment was governed, which was either the U.K. or Ireland. The legislation introduced in 2012 included grandfathering rights whereby existing employees (i.e. those employed prior to the introduction of the new legislation in June 2012) were exempt from the effects of the new legislation for a period of 10 years up until 2022 provided they did not transfer between bases. Each country within the EU has different rules and rates in relation to the calculation of employee and employer social insurance contributions and any increase in the rates of contributions will have a material adverse effect on Ryanair’s cash flows, financial position and results of operations.
Ryanair is subject to tax audits. The Company operates in many jurisdictions and is, from time to time, subject to tax audits, which by their nature are often complex and can require several years to conclude. While the Company is of the view that it is tax compliant in the various jurisdictions in which it operates, there can be no guarantee, particularly in the current economic environment, that it will not receive tax assessments following the conclusion of the tax audits. In the event that the Company is unsuccessful in defending its position, it is possible that the effective tax rate, employment and other costs of the Company could materially increase. See “— Corporation tax rates could rise” above.
Risks associated with the Company’s restructuring. Over the course of fiscal years 2019 to 2021, the Company has undergone a corporate restructuring which resulted in the transition from a single airline operating model (i.e. Ryanair DAC) to an airline modeled through five airlines: Buzz (Ryanair Sun), Lauda Europe (“Lauda”), Malta Air, Ryanair DAC and Ryanair U.K. (collectively the “Airline Entities”).
The cost of implementing these plans has been material, and the Company may continue to incur additional material expenses in relation thereto. In addition, the implementation of the changes involves a number of risks related to both the revised structure and also the process of transition to such new structure. For example:
|●||Increased costs and complexity related to establishing and maintaining intra-group agreements for management, funding, shared services and customer support between the Airline Entities;|
|●||Increased costs and complexity related to compliance with the applicable regulatory authorities and legal regimes governing each Airline Entity;|
|●||Operational risks related to the addition of 29 leased Airbus aircraft to the Company’s predominantly Boeing fleet, including impacts related to expanding the Company’s aircraft maintenance programs;|
|●||Development and implementation of consistent and efficient operating models across the Airline Entities; and|
|●||Potential accounting consequences, including tax costs, as a result of asset transfers in connection with the restructuring.|
As a result, the implementation of the restructuring could have a material adverse effect on the Company's business, its financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
Risks associated with the euro. The Company is headquartered in Ireland and its reporting currency is the euro. As a result of the uncertainty arising from the Eurozone debt crisis, there was widespread speculation regarding the future of the Eurozone. In addition, following the U.K.’s Brexit referendum in 2016, the pound sterling increased in volatility against the euro and could become more volatile over the course of the post-transition period. Ryanair Group airlines predominantly operate to/from countries within the Eurozone and have significant operational and financial exposures to the Eurozone that could result in a reduction in the operating performance of Ryanair or the devaluation of certain assets. Ryanair has taken certain risk management measures to minimize any disruptions; however, these risk management measures may be insufficient.
The Company has cash and aircraft assets and debt liabilities that are denominated in euro on its balance sheet. In addition, the positive/negative mark-to-market value of derivative-based transactions are recorded in euro as either assets or liabilities on the Company’s balance sheet. Uncertainty regarding the future of the Eurozone could have a materially adverse effect on the value of these assets and liabilities. In addition to the assets and liabilities on Ryanair’s balance sheet, the Company has a number of cross currency risks as a result of the jurisdictions of the operating business including non-euro revenues, fuel costs, certain maintenance costs and insurance costs. A strengthening in the value of the euro primarily against U.K. pound sterling and other non-Eurozone currencies such as Polish zloty or a weakening against the U.S. dollar could have a material adverse impact on the operating results of the Company.
Recession, austerity and uncertainty in connection with the euro could also mean that Ryanair is unable to grow. The recent European recession, austerity measures still in effect in several European countries, the Covid-19 crisis and social and political instability associated with the influx of refugees related to the wars in Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere could mean that Ryanair may be unable to expand its operations due to lack of demand for air travel.
Risks Related to the Airline Industry
Any significant outbreak of any airborne disease could significantly damage Ryanair’s business. Worldwide, there has, from time to time, been substantial publicity in recent years regarding certain potent influenza viruses and other disease epidemics and pandemics. Publicity of this type may have a negative impact on demand for air travel in Europe. Past outbreaks of MERS, SARS, foot-and-mouth disease, avian flu, swine flu, Zika virus and the current Covid-19 pandemic have adversely impacted the travel industries, including aviation, in certain regions of the world, including Europe. The Company believes that if any influenza or other pandemic becomes severe in Europe, its effect on demand for air travel in the markets in which Ryanair operates could be material, and it could therefore have a significantly adverse effect on the Company’s financial performance. A severe outbreak of swine flu, MERS, SARS, foot-and-mouth disease, avian flu, new (vaccine-resistant) variants of Covid-19, or another pandemic or livestock-related disease may also result in European or national authorities imposing/re-imposing restrictions on travel, further damaging Ryanair’s business. A serious pandemic could therefore severely disrupt Ryanair’s business, resulting in the cancellation or loss of bookings, and adversely affecting Ryanair’s financial condition and results of operations. See “The Covid-19 pandemic and measures to reduce its spread have had, and may continue to have, a material adverse impact on the Company’s business, results of operations, financial condition and liquidity” and “Covid-19 have disrupted the Company’s strategic growth plan”.
EU Regulation on passenger compensation could significantly increase related costs. EU Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 requires airlines to compensate passengers (holding a valid ticket) who have been denied boarding or whose flight has been canceled or delayed more than three hours on arrival. The regulation calls for compensation of €250, €400, or €600 per passenger, depending on the length of the flight and the cause of the cancellation or delay, i.e. whether it is caused by “extraordinary circumstances”. As Ryanair’s average flight length is less than 1,500 Km – the upper limit for short-haul flights – the amount payable is generally €250 per passenger. Passengers subject to flight delays over two hours are also entitled to “assistance,” including meals, drinks and telephone calls, as well as hotel accommodation
if the delay extends overnight. For delays of over five hours, the airline is also required to offer the option of a refund of the cost of the unused ticket. There can be no assurance that the Company will not incur a significant increase in costs in the future due to the impact of this regulation if Ryanair experiences a large number of delays or canceled flights, which could occur as a result of certain types of events beyond its control. Further, recently courts in several jurisdictions have been narrowing the definition of the term “extraordinary circumstances”, thus allowing increased consumer claims for compensation. In September 2015, the Court of Justice of the EU, in Van der Lans v KLM, held that airlines are required to provide compensation to passengers even in the event of a flight cancellation on account of unforeseen technical defects. Further, in April 2018, the Court of Justice of the EU found in Krusemann v TUIfly that “wildcat” strikes which stem from restructuring measures taken by an air carrier do not constitute extraordinary circumstances. Ryanair considered that the union-led strikes which it experienced during 2018 could be differentiated from the Krusemann case, because the union-led strikes were beyond Ryanair’s control and did not stem from a decision taken by Ryanair. Indeed, in the recent Airhelp v SAS Court of Justice of the EU proceedings, the Advocate General agreed with this position and determined that “a strike called by a trade union, in the exercise by the air carrier’s staff of the right to strike, with a view to putting demands relating to the improvement of working conditions, where that strike is not triggered by a prior decision of the undertaking but by the workers’ demands, constitutes an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ exempting the air carrier from liability”. While the Court of Justice of the EU generally follows the Advocate General’s opinions, it did not on this occasion, and has effectively imposed strict liability on airlines to pay EU261 compensation where flights are canceled or delayed more than three hours on arrival due to strikes by airline staff. See “—Extreme Weather Events Could Affect the Company and Have a Material Adverse Effect on the Company’s Results of Operations” below.
Under the terms of Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004, described above, in addition to the payment of compensation, Ryanair has certain duties to passengers whose flights are canceled. In particular, Ryanair is required to reimburse passengers who have had their flights canceled for certain reasonable, documented expenses – primarily for accommodation and food. Passengers must also be given a re-routing option if their flight is delayed over three hours or if it is canceled. Such re-routing options are not limited to Ryanair flights and other carriers must be considered if no suitable Ryanair flight can be sourced. If a passenger elects for a refund, Ryanair’s re-routing obligations cease.
The airline industry is particularly sensitive to changes in economic conditions: a continued recessionary environment would negatively impact Ryanair’s result of operations. Ryanair’s operations and the airline industry in general are sensitive to changes in economic conditions. Unfavorable economic conditions such as government austerity measures, the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns of the European economy, the uncertainty relating to the Eurozone and the U.K. following Brexit, high unemployment rates, constrained credit markets and increased business operating costs could lead to reduced spending by both leisure and business passengers. Unfavorable economic conditions, such as the conditions persisting as of the date hereof, also tend to impact Ryanair’s ability to raise fares to counteract increased fuel and other operating costs. A continued recessionary environment, combined with austerity measures by European governments and Brexit-related uncertainty in the U.K., will likely negatively impact Ryanair’s operating results. It could also restrict the Company’s ability to grow passenger volumes, secure new airports and launch new routes and bases, and could have a material adverse effect on its financial results.
The introduction of government/environmental taxes or prohibitions on travel could damage Ryanair’s ability to grow and could have a material adverse impact on operations. Travel taxes are levied on a per passenger basis in a number of Ryanair markets for example in the U.K., Air Passenger Duty (APD) is charged at £13 per adult passenger. In Germany there is an air passenger tax of €12.90 and similar taxes exist in Morocco (MAD100), Sweden (SEK63) and Italy (municipal taxes of €6.50, Rome at €7.50) amongst others. These taxes are levied as a flat amount per departing passenger and account for a higher percentage when applied to low fares. In Ryanair’s experience the imposition of travel taxes reduces the growth potential of a market as fares do not increase by the amount of the tax. In most markets transfer passengers are exempt from these taxes and as a result they distort the market by giving an unfair subsidy to inefficient high cost airlines who operate connecting flight networks.
The introduction of government taxes on travel has had a negative impact on passenger volumes, particularly given the current period of decreased economic activity within the industry as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The
introduction of further government taxes on travel across Europe could have a material adverse effect on Ryanair’s financial results.
In 2021 the French government began the process of prohibiting domestic routes where an alternative direct train journey operates in under two hours thirty minutes with exceptions made for connecting flights. This distorts the market giving an unfair monopoly to inefficient high cost airlines who operate connecting flight networks.
While management believes that any such restriction of airlines’ commercial freedom would be incompatible with EU law, it cannot be guaranteed that some form of government intervention in airline ticket prices will not be introduced at a national or European level. This would severely impact the Company’s ability to attract the most price sensitive consumers.
In July 2021, the European Commission (EC) announced details of the proposed “Fit for 55” legislation. These proposals potentially see, inter alia, the introduction of a jet fuel through the Energy Taxation Directive on intra-EU flights. This tax would potentially be fully phased in over a 10 year period from 2024 to 2033. The introduction of this tax on intra-EU flights could have a material adverse effect on Ryanair’s financial results.
Political uncertainty and an increase of trade protectionism could have a material adverse effect on Ryanair’s business, results of operation and financial condition. The announcement of unilateral tariffs on imported products by the U.S. has triggered retaliatory actions from certain foreign governments and may trigger retaliatory actions by other foreign governments, potentially resulting in a “trade war”. Certain foreign governments have instituted or are considering imposing trade sanctions on certain U.S. goods. Others are considering the imposition of sanctions that will deny U.S. companies access to critical raw materials. These measures could increase the price of goods and services globally and may affect Ryanair, which has exposure, either directly or indirectly, to certain raw materials, including steel used for aircraft it purchases and jet fuel. A “trade war” of this nature or other governmental action related to tariffs or international trade agreements could have a material adverse effect on demand for Ryanair’s services, its costs, customers, suppliers and/or the Irish, EU, U.S. or world economy or certain sectors thereof and, thus, Ryanair’s business and financial results.
The Company is substantially dependent on discretionary air travel. Because a substantial portion of airline travel (both business and personal) is discretionary and because Ryanair is substantially dependent on discretionary air travel, any prolonged general reduction in airline passenger traffic could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s profitability or financial condition. Similarly, any significant increase in expenses related to security, insurance or related costs could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s profitability or financial condition. As a consequence, any future aircraft safety incidents (particularly involving other low-fare airlines or aircraft models flown by Ryanair), changes in public opinion regarding the environmental impacts of air travel, terrorist attacks in Europe, the U.S. or elsewhere, significant military actions by the United States or EU nations, or any related economic downturn may have a material adverse effect on demand for air travel and thus on Ryanair’s business, operating results, and financial condition. See “—The Company is dependent on the continued acceptance of Low-fares airlines.”
Environmental Regulation will increase costs. Many aspects of Ryanair’s operations are subject to increasingly stringent national and international laws, regulations and levies protecting the environment, including those relating to carbon emissions, clean water, management of hazardous materials and climate change. Compliance with existing and future environmental laws, regulations and levies can require significant expenditures, and violations can lead to significant fines, penalties and reputational damage.
In particular, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (“ETS”), is a cap-and-trade system for CO2 emissions to encourage industries to improve their CO2 efficiency. Under the current legislation, airlines are granted initial CO2 allowances based on historical performance and a CO2 efficiency benchmark. Under the “Fit for 55” proposed legislation, the EU ETS allowances will be phased out over the period from 2024 to 2027. Any shortage of allowances has to be purchased in the open market and/or at government auctions. The cost of such allowances increased significantly during fiscal year 2021 and fiscal year 2022. There can be no assurance that Ryanair will be able to obtain sufficient carbon
credits or that the cost of the credits will not have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, operating results, and financial condition.
Additionally, the EC “ReFuel EU” proposal provides for a Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) blending mandate to be implemented. It sets SAF targets of 2% by 2025 rising to 5% by 2030 and 20% by 3035. There can be no assurance that sufficient SAF will be available in the market for Ryanair to purchase or that the cost of SAF will not have a material adverse effect on Ryanair’s financial results.
Extreme weather events could affect the Company and have a material adverse effect on the Company’s results of operations. In 2010 and 2011 a significant portion of the airspace over northern Europe was closed by authorities as a result of safety concerns presented by emissions of ash from an Icelandic volcano, which resulted in the cancellation of a significant number of flights.
Extreme weather events may happen again and could lead to further significant flight cancellation costs which could have a material adverse impact on the Company’s financial condition and results of operations. Furthermore, the occurrence of such events and the resulting cancellations due to the closure of airports could also have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial performance indirectly, as a consequence of changes in the public’s willingness to travel within Europe due to the risk of flight disruptions.
The Company is dependent on the continued acceptance of low-fares airlines. In past years, accidents or other safety-related incidents involving certain other low-fares airlines have had a negative impact on the public’s acceptance of such airlines. Any adverse event potentially relating to the safety or reliability of low-fares airlines (including accidents or negative reports from regulatory authorities) could adversely impact the public’s perception of, and confidence in, low-fares airlines like Ryanair (regardless of Ryanair’s own safety record), and could have a material adverse effect on Ryanair’s financial condition and results of operations. In particular, an accident or other safety-related incident involving an aircraft operated by another airline of the same model or manufacturer as operated by Ryanair could have a material adverse effect on Ryanair if such accident or other safety-related incident resulted in actions or investigations by global aviation authorities or created a public perception that Ryanair’s operations are not safe or reliable, or are less safe or reliable than other airlines. Such regulatory actions and/or public perceptions could, in turn, result in adverse publicity for Ryanair, cause harm to Ryanair’s brand and reduce travel demand on Ryanair’s flights, resulting in a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial condition and results of operations. For additional information, see “—Risks Related to the Company—A majority of Ryanair’s aircraft and certain parts are sourced from a single supplier; therefore, Ryanair would be materially and adversely affected if such supplier were unable to provide additional equipment or support.”
The Company faces the risk of loss and liability. Ryanair is exposed to potential catastrophic losses that may be incurred in the event of an aircraft accident or terrorist incident. Any such accident or incident could involve costs related to the repair or replacement of a damaged aircraft and its consequent temporary or permanent loss from service. In addition, an accident or incident could result in significant legal claims against the Company from injured passengers and others who experienced injury or property damage as a result of the accident or incident, including ground victims. Ryanair currently maintains passenger liability insurance, employer liability insurance, aircraft insurance for aircraft loss or damage, and other business insurance in amounts per occurrence that are consistent with industry standards.
Ryanair currently believes its insurance coverage is adequate (although not comprehensive). However, there can be no assurance that the amount of insurance coverage will not need to be increased, that insurance premiums will not increase significantly, or that Ryanair will not be forced to bear substantial losses from any accidents not covered by its insurance. Airline insurance costs increased dramatically following the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. See “—The Company is substantially dependent on discretionary air travel” above. Substantial claims resulting from an accident in excess of related insurance coverage could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s results of operations and financial condition. Moreover, any aircraft accident, even if fully insured, could lead to the public perception that Ryanair’s aircraft were less safe or reliable than those operated by other airlines, which could have a material adverse effect on Ryanair’s business.
EU Regulation No. 2027/97, as amended by Regulation No. 889/2002, governs air carrier liability. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—Insurance” for details of this regulation. This regulation increased the potential liability exposure of air carriers such as Ryanair. Although Ryanair has extended its liability insurance to meet the requirements of the regulation, no assurance can be given that other laws, regulations, or policies will not be applied, modified or amended in a manner that has a material adverse effect on Ryanair’s business, operating results, and financial condition.
Airline industry margins are subject to significant uncertainty. The airline industry is capital intensive and is characterized by high fixed costs and by revenues that generally exhibit substantially greater elasticity than costs. Although fuel accounted for approximately 22% of total operating expenses in fiscal year 2021 and approximately 37% in fiscal year 2020 (pre Covid-19 aircraft groundings), management anticipates that these percentages may vary significantly in future years. See “—Changes in Fuel Costs and Availability Affect the Company’s Results” above. The operating costs of each flight do not vary significantly with the number of passengers flown, and therefore, a relatively small change in the number of passengers, fare pricing, or traffic mix could have a disproportionate effect on operating and financial results. Accordingly, a relatively minor shortfall from expected revenue levels could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s growth or financial performance. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects.” The very low marginal costs incurred for providing services to passengers occupying otherwise unsold seats are also a factor in the industry’s high susceptibility to price discounting. See “—Risks Related to the Company—The Company faces significant price and other pressures in a highly competitive environment” above.
Safety-related undertakings could affect the Company’s results. Aviation authorities in Europe and the United States periodically require or suggest that airlines implement certain safety-related procedures on their aircraft. In recent years, the FAA and EASA have required a number of such procedures with regard to Boeing 737 aircraft, including major modifications to implement changes to the take-off configuration warning lights, cabin pressurization system, pitot system heating, CFM fan blade nondestructive testing (NDT) on certain production CFM-56 engines, fuel tank boost pump electrical arcing protection, and the European Commission’s Datalink mandate. As a result of the grounding of the Boeing 737-MAX-8 aircraft due to safety concerns in March 2019, the delivery of new Boeing 737-8200 aircraft ordered from Boeing was delayed until June 2021. Ryanair’s policy is to implement any required safety procedures in accordance with FAA and EASA guidance and to perform such procedures in close collaboration with Boeing.
In 2019, the FAA and EASA implemented a regular inspection requirement of the aircraft pickle fork for all aircraft with more than 22,600 cycles and this inspection requirement will continue and may become more stringent. To date, all such procedures have been conducted as part of Ryanair’s standard maintenance program and have not interrupted flight schedules nor required any material increases in Ryanair’s maintenance expenses. However, there can be no assurance that the FAA and EASA or other regulatory authorities will not recommend or require other safety-related undertakings or that such undertakings would not adversely impact Ryanair’s operating results or financial condition.
There also can be no assurance that new regulations will not be implemented in the future that would apply to Ryanair’s aircraft and result in an increase in Ryanair’s cost of maintenance, delays in the delivery of aircraft or other costs beyond management’s current estimates. In addition, should Ryanair’s aircraft cease to be sufficiently reliable or should any public perception develop that Ryanair’s aircraft are less than completely reliable, Ryanair’s business could be materially adversely affected.
State Aid to the Company’s competitors could adversely affect its results. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, several European governments have pledged to support their flag carrier airlines with State Aid through recapitalizations, loans, loan guarantees and other measures. As at the date of this report, the European Commission has authorized almost €30bn in such aid to approximately 20 airlines. Ryanair believes that aid that includes a nationality condition is discriminatory and therefore unlawful under EU law, and has decided to challenge the European Commission’s approval decisions in the General Court. However, the result of these appeals is uncertain. Should Ryanair be unsuccessful, its competitors may use the aid to offer below cost prices in the market, which could negatively impact the Company’s business and operations.
Risks Related to Ownership of the Company’s Ordinary Shares or ADRs
EU Rules impose restrictions on the ownership of Ryanair Holdings’ ordinary shares by Non-EU Nationals, and the Company has applied a ban on the purchase of ordinary shares by Non-EU nationals (which now includes U.K. nationals) since 2002. EU Regulation No. 1008/2008 requires that, in order to obtain and retain an operating license, an EU air carrier must be majority-owned and effectively controlled by EU nationals. The Board of Directors of Ryanair Holdings is given certain powers under Ryanair Holdings’ articles of association (the “Articles”) to take action to ensure that the number of Ordinary Shares held in Ryanair Holdings by non-EU nationals (“Affected Shares”) does not reach a level that could jeopardize the Company’s entitlement to continue to hold or enjoy the benefit of any license, permit, consent, or privilege which it holds or enjoys and which enables it to carry on business as an air carrier. The Directors, from time to time, set a “Permitted Maximum” on the number of the Company’s Ordinary Shares that may be owned by non-EU nationals at such level as they believe will comply with EU law. The Permitted Maximum is currently set at 49.9%. In addition, under certain circumstances, the Directors can take action to safeguard the Company’s ability to operate by identifying those Ordinary Shares, ADSs or Affected Shares which give rise to the need to take action and treat such Ordinary Shares, the American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”) evidencing such ADSs, or Affected Shares as “Restricted Shares” (within the meaning of the Articles).
The Board of Directors may, under certain circumstances, deprive holders of Restricted Shares of their rights to attend, vote at, and speak at general meetings, and/or require such holders to dispose of their Restricted Shares to an EU national within as little as 21 days. The Directors are also given the power to transfer such Restricted Shares themselves if a holder fails to comply, with any such transfer subject to legal challenge by the relevant holder. In 2002, the Company implemented measures to restrict the ability of non-EU nationals to purchase Ordinary Shares, and non-EU nationals are currently effectively barred from purchasing Ordinary Shares and will remain so for as long as these restrictions remain in place. There can be no assurance that these restrictions will ever be lifted. Additionally, these foreign ownership restrictions could result in Ryanair’s exclusion from certain stock tracking indices. Any such exclusion may adversely affect the market price of the Ordinary Shares and ADRs. Since April 2012, the Company has had the necessary authorities in place to repurchase ADRs as part of its general authority to repurchase up to 10% of the issued share capital in the Company. See “Item 10. Additional Information—Limitations on Share Ownership by Non-EU Nationals” for a detailed discussion of restrictions on share ownership and the current ban on share purchases by non-EU nationals.
As a result of Brexit, with effect from January 1, 2021 U.K. nationals ceased to qualify as EU nationals. Consequently, as of that date, the 2002 ban on the purchase of ordinary shares by non-EU nationals has applied to U.K. nationals also. In addition, in accordance with the resolutions passed by the Board of the Company on March 8, 2019, all Ordinary Shares and ADSs held by or on behalf of non-EU nationals (including U.K. nationals) are, as of January 1, 2021, treated as “Restricted Shares”. Restricted Share Notices were issued to the registered holder(s) of each Restricted Share specifying that the holder(s) of such shares shall not be entitled to attend, speak or vote at any general meeting of the Company for so long as those shares are treated as Restricted Shares pursuant to Article 41(J)(i) of the Articles. U.K. nationals are not required to dispose of Ordinary Shares which they purchased prior to January 1, 2021. These resolutions will remain in place until the Board determines that the ownership and control of the Company is no longer such that there is any risk to the airline licenses held by the Company's subsidiaries pursuant to EU Regulation No. 1008/2008.
Holders of ordinary shares are currently unable to convert those shares into ADRs. In an effort to increase the percentage of its share capital held by EU nationals, on June 26, 2001, Ryanair Holdings instructed The Bank of New York Mellon, the depositary for its ADR program (the “Depositary”), to suspend the issuance of new ADRs in exchange for the deposit of Ordinary Shares until further notice. Holders of Ordinary Shares cannot convert their Ordinary Shares into ADRs during this suspension, and there can be no assurance that the suspension will ever be lifted. See also “—EU Rules Impose Restrictions on the Ownership of Ryanair Holdings’ Ordinary Shares by Non-EU nationals and the Company has Instituted a Ban on the Purchase of Ordinary Shares by Non-EU Nationals”.
The Company’s results of operations may fluctuate significantly. The Company’s results of operations have varied significantly from quarter to quarter, and management expects these variations to continue. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Seasonal Fluctuations.” Among the factors causing these variations are the airline industry’s sensitivity to general economic conditions, the seasonal nature of air travel, and trends in airlines’ costs, especially fuel costs. Because a substantial portion of airline travel (both business and personal) is discretionary, the industry tends to experience adverse financial results during general economic downturns. The Company is substantially dependent on discretionary air travel.
The trading price of Ryanair Holdings’ Ordinary Shares and ADRs may be subject to wide fluctuations in response to quarterly variations in the Company’s operating results and the operating results of other airlines. In addition, the global stock markets from time to time experience extreme price and volume fluctuations that affect the market prices of many airline company stocks. These broad market fluctuations may materially adversely affect the market price of the Ordinary Shares and ADRs.
Ryanair Holdings may or may not pay dividends. Since its incorporation in 1996, Ryanair Holdings, has only occasionally declared special dividends on both its Ordinary Shares and ADRs. Ryanair Holdings’ ability to pay dividends in the future will be dependent on the financial performance of the Company and there is no guarantee that any further dividends will be paid. See “Item 8. Financial Information—Other Financial Information—Dividend Policy”. As a holding company, Ryanair Holdings does not have any material assets other than its shares in the Company’s operating airlines and in other entities within the Ryanair Holdings group structure.
Increased costs for possible future ADR and share repurchases. As the ADRs have historically traded on the NASDAQ Stock Market (“NASDAQ”) at a premium compared to Ordinary Shares, the inclusion of ADRs in buyback programs may result in increased costs in performing share buybacks. Since fiscal year 2008 the Company has repurchased shares as follows:
Year ended March 31,
No. of shares (m)
Approx. cost (€m)
Period through July 23, 2021
There is no guarantee that the Company’s current Central Securities Depository (“CSD”) will provide equivalent functionality to the Company’s previous CSD, which may adversely impact the Company and/or holders of ADRs and/or interests in Ordinary Shares. Ireland does not have a domestic CSD, and Irish issuers, including Ryanair Holdings, whose shares are traded on Euronext Dublin or the London Stock Exchange have historically relied on CREST. CREST is a system which facilitated the recording of ownership and effecting transfers of shares in Irish incorporated companies, operated by Euroclear U.K. & Ireland (“EUI”) and authorized as a CSD in the United Kingdom.
EU issuers are required by EU Regulation 2014/909 (“EU CSD Regulation”) to use a CSD authorized in an EU Member State. One of the consequences of Brexit is therefore that the CREST system is no longer authorized to act as a CSD for Irish securities. This is because EUI became a third country CSD following Brexit and is no longer authorized to passport its services into Ireland pursuant to European law.
The Company held an Extraordinary General Meeting at which it was resolved that the Ordinary Shares of Ryanair Holdings would be migrated from the CREST System to the settlement system operated by Euroclear Bank SA/NV (“Euroclear Bank”), the CSD in Belgium, over the course of the weekend commencing March 12, 2021 (the
“Migration”). The Migration, involving all Irish companies listed on Euronext Dublin, was successfully completed on March 15, 2021.
The Euroclear Bank model is structurally different to CREST. Euroclear Bank operates an “intermediated” settlement system, where legal title to shares in the issuer is held by a nominee of Euroclear Bank. Participants in Euroclear Bank (e.g., credit institutions, stockbrokers, investment managers) have rights in relation to these shares under Belgian law (Belgium being Euroclear Bank’s place of incorporation), and underlying investors hold their interests in the shares through their contractual relationship with a participant, or the direct or indirect counterparty of a participant.
The Company’s securities have never before been deposited on an “intermediated” settlement basis and it cannot be guaranteed that the Euroclear Bank CSD will be able to support the Company in respect of its continued compliance with EU ownership and control requirements pursuant to Regulation (EC) 1008/2008.
Ryanair Holdings was incorporated in 1996 as a holding company for Ryanair Limited, now known as Ryanair Designated Activity Company (“DAC”). The latter operates a low fare, scheduled-passenger airline serving short-haul, point-to-point routes mainly within Europe. In fiscal year 2019, the Company set up Buzz, formally known as Ryanair Sun, (a Polish charter and scheduled passenger airline with a Polish AOC), and acquired Lauda (now a Maltese wet lease provider to the Ryanair Group with a Maltese AOC), and set-up Ryanair U.K. (with a U.K. AOC). In fiscal year 2020, Malta Air became the fifth airline in the Ryanair Group. Each of Buzz, Lauda, Malta Air, Ryanair DAC and Ryanair U.K. are wholly owned airlines within the Ryanair Group. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—History” for detail on the history of the Company. As of June 30, 2021, the Ryanair Group had a principal fleet of approximately 422 Boeing 737 aircraft and 29 Airbus A320 aircraft. As of July 23, 2021, the Group offered over 2,100 short-haul flights per day serving over 210 airports across Europe. It is anticipated that additional capacity will be offered over the next twelve months, subject to the timing of the removal of European government lockdown and travel restrictions and assuming such lockdown restrictions are not re-imposed. See “—Route System, Scheduling and Fares—Route System and Scheduling” for more details of Ryanair’s route network. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Seasonal Fluctuations” for information about the seasonality of Ryanair’s business.
Ryanair recorded a loss after taxation of €1,015m in fiscal year 2021, as compared with a profit of €649m in fiscal year 2020. This decrease was primarily attributable to an 81% decline in traffic as European Governments imposed travel restrictions/lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Ryanair generated an average booked passenger load factor of approximately 71% in fiscal year 2021, compared to 95% in fiscal year 2020 and total revenue decreased by 81% to €1,636m, down from €8,495m in fiscal year 2020.
Management believes that the market’s acceptance of Ryanair’s low-fares service is reflected in the “Ryanair Effect” – Ryanair’s history of stimulating significant annual passenger traffic growth on the routes where it commences service. Fiscal year 2021 was the most challenging in Ryanair’s history. Covid-19 saw traffic collapse, almost overnight, from 149m to just 27.5m as many European governments (with little notice or co-ordination) imposed flight bans, travel restrictions and national lockdowns. 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 2021. This created enormous disruptions and uncertainty for both Ryanair’s customers and its 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. The Ryanair Group minimized job losses through agreed pay cuts and participation in government job support schemes, while at the same time keeping pilots, cabin crew and aircraft current and ready to resume service once normality returns.
The address of Ryanair Holdings’ registered office is: c/o Ryanair DAC, Dublin Office, Airside Business Park, Swords, County Dublin, K67 NY94, Ireland. The Company’s contact person regarding this Annual Report on Form 20-F is: Neil Sorahan, Group CFO (same address as above). The telephone number is +353-1-945-1212 and facsimile number is +353-1-945-1213. Under its current Articles, Ryanair Holdings has an unlimited corporate duration.
Ryanair Holdings files annual reports, special reports, and other information with the SEC. Its SEC filings are available on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov. This site contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC. Ryanair Holdings also makes available on its website, free of charge, its annual reports on Form 20-F and the text of its reports on Form 6-K, including any amendments to these reports, as well as certain other SEC filings, as soon as reasonably practicable after they are electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC. Ryanair’s website address is https://www.ryanair.com. The information on these websites, and any other website referenced herein, is not part of this report except as specifically incorporated by reference herein.
Ryanair’s objective is to establish itself as Europe’s largest scheduled passenger airline group, through continued improvements and expanded offerings of its low-fares service. The Ryanair Group seeks to offer low fares that generate increased passenger traffic while maintaining a continuous focus on cost- containment and operating efficiencies. The key elements of Ryanair’s long-term strategy are:
Low-Fares. Ryanair’s low fares are designed to stimulate demand, particularly from fare-conscious leisure and business travelers who might otherwise use alternative forms of transportation or choose not to travel at all. Ryanair sells seats on a one-way basis, thus eliminating minimum stay requirements from all travel on Ryanair scheduled services. Ryanair sets fares on the basis of the demand for particular flights and by reference to the period remaining to the date of departure of the flight, with higher fares typically charged on flights with higher levels of demand and for bookings made nearer to the date of departure. Ryanair also periodically runs special promotional fare campaigns. See “—Route System, Scheduling and Fares—Widely Available Low Fares” below.
Customer Service. Ryanair’s strategy is to deliver the best customer service performance in its peer group. Ryanair delivers industry leading punctuality (target >90% excluding ATC disruptions) and fewer lost bags than its peer group in Europe. Ryanair achieves this by focusing strongly on the execution of these services. Ryanair conducts a daily conference call with airport personnel at each of its base airports, during which the reasons for each “first wave” flight delay and baggage short-shipment are discussed in detail and logged to ensure that the root cause is identified and rectified. Subsequent (consequential) delays and short shipments are investigated by Ryanair ground operations personnel.
Customer satisfaction is also measured by regular online “mystery-passenger” checks and every passenger that flies with Ryanair can rate their flying experience. Monthly Net Promoter Scores (“NPS”) and customer satisfaction scores are analyzed to ensure Ryanair are delivering on the things that matter most for our customers.
Ryanair is continuously implementing new strategic initiatives that are expected to improve its customer service offering. As part of Ryanair’s “We’re Listening” initiative, Ryanair invited customers to join a new Customer Advisory Panel that will allow its teams to gain valuable insight on how the Group can continue to improve customer services.
Frequent point-to-point flights on short-haul routes. Ryanair provides frequent point-to-point service on short- haul routes. In fiscal year 2021, Ryanair flew an average route length of approximately 776 miles and an average flight duration of approximately 1.88 hours. Short-haul routes allow Ryanair to offer its low fares and frequent service, while eliminating the need to provide unnecessary “frills”, like free in-flight meals and movies, otherwise expected by customers on longer flights. Point-to-point flying (as opposed to hub-and-spoke service) allows Ryanair to offer direct,
non-stop routes and avoid the costs of providing “through service,” for connecting passengers, including baggage transfer and transit passenger assistance.
Low Operating Costs. Management believes that the Ryanair Group’s operating costs are among the lowest of any European scheduled-passenger airline group. Ryanair strives to reduce or control four of the primary expenses involved in running a major scheduled airline group: (i) aircraft equipment and finance costs; (ii) personnel costs; (iii) customer service costs; and (iv) airport access and handling costs:
(i) Aircraft Equipment and Finance Costs. Ryanair currently operates mainly “next generation” Boeing 737-800s. The operation of primarily a single aircraft type (mainly B737s) enables Ryanair to limit the costs associated with personnel training, maintenance, and the purchase and storage of spare parts while also affording the Company greater flexibility in the scheduling of crews and equipment. Management also believes that the terms of Ryanair’s contracts with Boeing are favorable to Ryanair. The strength of Ryanair’s balance sheet and cashflows also enables the Group to lease aircraft at competitive rates (such as the 29 A320s leased by Lauda). See “—Aircraft” below for additional information on Ryanair’s fleet. The Company has a BBB rating from both S&P and Fitch Ratings (see “Item 3. Key Information—Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Company—The Company will incur significant costs acquiring new aircraft and any instability in the credit and capital markets could negatively impact Ryanair’s ability to obtain financing on acceptable terms” above) and can raise inexpensive unsecured debt in the Capital Markets. The Company also finances aircraft from its strong cashflows.
(ii) Personnel Costs. Ryanair endeavors to control its labor costs through incentivizing high productivity. Compensation for personnel emphasizes productivity-based pay incentives. These incentives include sales bonus payments for onboard sales of products for cabin crew and payments based on the number of hours or sectors flown by pilots and cabin crew within strict limits set by industry standards or regulations fixing maximum working hours.
(iii) Customer Service Costs. Ryanair has entered into agreements with external contractors at certain airports for ticketing, passenger and aircraft handling, and other services that management believes can be more cost- efficiently provided by third parties. Ryanair negotiates competitive rates for such services by negotiating fixed-price, multi-year contracts. The development of its own Internet booking facility has allowed Ryanair to eliminate travel agent commissions. As part of its strategic initiatives, and the Always Getting Better (“AGB”) customer experience program launched in 2013, the Company has broadened its distribution base by making Ryanair’s fares available to Travelport (trading as Galileo and Worldspan) and Sabre at nominal cost to the Company. Direct sales via the Ryanair website and mobile app continues to be the prime generator of scheduled passenger revenues.
(iv) Airport Access and Handling Costs. Ryanair prioritizes airports that offer competitive prices. The Ryanair Group’s record of delivering a consistently high volume of passenger traffic growth at many airports has allowed it to negotiate favorable growth contracts with such airports since the launch of AGB, the Company has accessed more primary airports, which typically have higher airport charges and greater competition along with slot limitations. Secondary and regional airports generally do not have slot requirements or other operating restrictions that can increase operating expenses and limit the number of allowed take-offs and landings. Ryanair endeavors to reduce its airport charges by opting, when practicable, for less expensive gate locations as well as outdoor boarding stairs, rather than jetways, which are more expensive and operationally less efficient to use. Ryanair requires all passengers to check-in on the Internet, which reduces waiting times at airports and speeds a passenger’s journey from arrival at the airport to boarding, as well as significantly reducing airport handling costs. Ryanair also charges a checked-bag fee, which is payable on the Internet at the time of booking or post booking and is aimed at reducing the number of bags carried by passengers in order to further reduce handling and CO2 costs. See “Item 3. Key Information—Risks Related to the Company—The Company Faces Risks Related to its Internet Reservations Operations and its Elimination of Airport Check-in Facilities.”
Taking advantage of digital platforms. Ryanair’s reservation system operates under a hosting agreement with Navitaire which currently extends to November 2027. As part of the implementation of the reservation system, Navitaire developed an Internet booking facility. The Ryanair system allows Internet users to access its host reservation system and to make and pay for confirmed reservations in real time through the Ryanair.com website. The Company also has a mobile app which makes it simpler and easier for customers to book Ryanair flights. The website and app also offer customers the ability to add additional ancillary products on day of travel (e.g. bags, priority boarding, preferred seating and fast track). Ryanair has continued to invest in its website with the key features being personalization, a “My Ryanair” account, easier booking flow, more content, faster, intuitive and fully responsive for mobile devices. The “My Ryanair” registration service, which allows customers to securely store their personal and payment details, has also significantly quickened the booking process and made it easier for customers to book a flight. Membership of “My Ryanair” is automatic for all bookings. Ryanair will endeavor to continue to improve its website and mobile app through a series of ongoing upgrades.
Commitment to safety and quality maintenance. Safety is the primary priority of Ryanair. This commitment begins with the hiring and training of Ryanair’s pilots, flight attendants, and maintenance personnel and includes a policy of maintaining its aircraft in accordance with the highest European industry standards. Ryanair has not had a single passenger or flight crew fatality as a result of an accident with one of its aircraft in its 36-year operating history. Although Ryanair seeks to maintain its fleet in a cost-effective manner, management does not seek to extend Ryanair’s low-cost operating strategy to the areas of safety, maintenance, training or quality assurance. Routine aircraft maintenance and repair services are performed primarily by Ryanair, at Ryanair’s main bases, but are also performed at other base airports by maintenance contractors approved under the terms of an EASA Part 145 approval. Ryanair currently performs the majority of heavy airframe maintenance in-house, but contracts with other parties who perform engine overhaul services and rotable repairs. Ryanair also outsources some heavy maintenance activity. These contractors also provide similar services to a number of other major European airlines.
Enhancement of operating results through ancillary services. Ryanair distributes accommodation services and travel insurance primarily through its website. For accommodation services, Ryanair currently has a contract with core providers (Hotels.com, Hotelopia.com and Hostelsclub) to market hotels and other accommodation offerings during and after the booking process. Ryanair also offers airport transfers and car park services through its website and on board its aircraft. Ryanair offers car hire services via a contract with RentalCars. Ancillary revenues accounted for approximately 37% of Ryanair’s total operating revenues in fiscal year 2021 and approximately 34% of Ryanair’s total operating revenues in fiscal year 2020. See “—Ancillary Services” below and “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Results of Operations—Fiscal Year 2021 Compared with Fiscal Year 2020—Ancillary Revenues” for additional information.
Focused criteria for growth. Ryanair believes it will have opportunities for continued growth by: (i) using aggressive fare promotions to stimulate demand; (ii) initiating additional routes in the EU; (iii) initiating additional routes in countries party to a European Common Aviation Agreement with the EU that are currently served by higher-cost, higher-fare carriers; (iv) increasing the frequency of service on its existing routes; (v) starting new domestic routes within individual EU countries and the UK; (vi) considering acquisition opportunities that may become available in the future; (vii) connecting airports within its existing route network; (viii) establishing new bases; and (ix) initiating new routes not currently served by any carrier.
Responding to market challenges. In recent periods, Ryanair’s low-fares business model faced substantial pressure due to significantly increased fuel costs and economic contraction in the economies in which it operates (including global market disruptions related to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak). The Company has aimed to meet these challenges by: (i) grounding approximately 200 aircraft in fiscal year 2021 during the winter season with nearly all of the fleet grounded in Quarter 1, fiscal year 2021; (ii) disposing of aircraft (11 lease hand-backs and 7 aircraft sales in fiscal year 2021); (iii) controlling costs and liquidity; and (iv) renegotiating contracts with existing suppliers, airports and handling companies. There can be no assurance that the Company will be successful in achieving all of the foregoing or taking other similar measures, or that doing so will allow the Company to earn profits in any period. See “Item 3. Key
Information—Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Company—Changes in Fuel Costs and Availability Affect the Company’s Results” and “— The Company May Not Be Successful in Increasing Fares and Revenues to Cover Rising Business Costs.” In prior years, in response to an operating environment characterized by high fuel prices, typically lower seasonal yields and higher airport charges and/or taxes, Ryanair adopted a policy of grounding a certain portion of its fleet during the winter months. Ryanair also carries out its scheduled aircraft maintenance at this quieter time of the year. While seasonal grounding does reduce the Company’s operating costs, it also decreases Ryanair’s winter season flight and non-flight revenues. Decreasing the number and frequency of flights may also negatively affect the Company’s labor relations, including its ability to attract flight personnel interested in full-time employment. See “Item 3. Key Information—Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Company—Ryanair has Seasonally Grounded Aircraft.”
Route System and Scheduling
As of July 23, 2021, the Company offered over 2,100 daily scheduled short-haul flights serving over 210 airports largely throughout Europe and North Africa as it gradually returns to service following the lifting of European Governments’ Covid-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions. Prior to the grounding of aircraft in March 2020 as a result of EU government restriction to stop the spread of Covid-19, the Ryanair Group offered over 2,500 scheduled short-haul flights per day serving over 240 airports largely throughout Europe and North Africa. The following table lists Ryanair’s 86 operating bases:
Barcelona (El Prat)
Stockholm (Arlanda) *
* New bases announced and opening in Winter 2021
See Note 18, “Analysis of operating revenues and segmental analysis” to the consolidated financial statements included in Item 18 for more information regarding the geographical sources of the Company’s revenue.
Ryanair’s objective is to schedule a sufficient number of flights per day on each of Ryanair’s routes to satisfy demand for Ryanair’s low-fares service. Ryanair schedules departures on its most popular routes at frequent intervals normally between approximately 6:00 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. Management regularly reviews the need for adjustments in the number of flights on all of its routes.
As part of Ryanair’s AGB customer experience program Ryanair has focused on high frequency and business friendly timings between Europe’s main business centers.
Over the past year, the Ryanair Group launched 167 new routes across its network. See “Item 3. Key Information—Risk Factors— Risks Related to the Company—Ryanair’s New Routes and Expanded Operations May Have an Adverse Financial Impact on Its Results.”
Widely Available Low Fares
Ryanair offers low fares, with prices generally varying on the basis of advance booking, seat availability and demand. Ryanair sells seats on a one-way basis, thus removing minimum stay requirements from all travel on Ryanair scheduled services. All tickets can be changed, subject to certain conditions, including fee payment (although certain fee holidays have been implemented throughout the Covid-19 crisis) and applicable upgrade charges. However, tickets are generally non-cancellable and non-refundable and must be paid for at the time of reservation.
Ryanair’s discounted fares are driven by Ryanair’s “load factor active – yield passive” policy whereby seats are priced to ensure that high load factor targets are achieved.
Ryanair also periodically runs special promotional fare campaigns, in particular in connection with the opening of new routes, and endeavors to always offer the lowest fare on any route it serves. Promotional fares may have the effect of increasing load factors and reducing Ryanair’s yield and passenger revenues on the relevant routes during the periods they are in effect. Ryanair expects to continue to offer significant fare promotions to stimulate demand in periods of lower activity or during off-peak times for the foreseeable future.
Ryanair’s primary marketing strategy is to emphasize its widely available low fares, route choice and great care. In doing so, Ryanair primarily advertises its services in national and regional media across Europe. In addition, Ryanair uses advertising, email marketing and social media. Other marketing activities include the distribution of advertising and promotional material and cooperative advertising campaigns with other travel-related entities, including local tourist boards. Ryanair also regularly contacts people who have registered in its database to inform them about promotions and special offers.
Passenger airlines generally rely on travel agents (whether traditional or online) for a significant portion of their ticket sales and pay travel agents’ commissions for their services, as well as reimbursing them for the fees charged by reservation systems providers. In contrast, Ryanair requires passengers to make reservations and purchase tickets directly. The vast majority of such reservations and purchases are made through the website Ryanair.com, although an increasing number of customers are also booking on the Ryanair app and therefore, we are not reliant on travel agents.
Ryanair’s reservations system is hosted under an agreement with the system provider, Navitaire. Under the agreement, the system serves as Ryanair’s core seating inventory and booking system. In return for access to these system
functions, Ryanair pays transaction fees that are generally based on the number of passenger seat journeys booked through the system. Navitaire also retains back-up booking engines to support operations in the event of a breakdown in the main system.
Over the last year Ryanair has introduced several new features such as Multi Airport City and Fare Finder which makes it easier and quicker for customers to find the lowest fares. Ryanair also requires internet check-in for all passengers. These enhancements and changes have been made to reduce waiting times at airports and speed up the passenger’s journey from arrival at the airport to boarding, as well as significantly reduce airport handling costs.
The Company has also entered into an agreement with the GDSs Travelport (which operates the Galileo and Worldspan GDS) and Sabre. The Company’s fares (except for the three lowest fare categories) are currently distributed on the GDSs’ systems. Ryanair has negotiated an attractive per segment price which enables it to sell tickets via travel agents at no commission to a mix of largely business/corporate travelers.
As of June 30, 2021, the Company had a fleet of 422 Boeing 737 aircraft which are currently operated by Buzz, Malta Air, Ryanair DAC and Ryanair U.K. The fleet was composed of 3 Boeing 737-8200 aircraft, each having 197 seats, and 419 Boeing 737-800 “next generation” (“NG”) aircraft, each having 189 seats. The Company’s fleet totaled 422 Boeing 737-800 aircraft at March 31, 2021.
Between March 1999 and March 2021 Ryanair took delivery of 531 new Boeing 737NG aircraft under its contracts with Boeing and disposed of 109 Boeing 737NG aircraft, including 74 lease hand-backs. In the period April 2021 to June 2021, Ryanair took delivery of 3 new Boeing 737-8200 aircraft and returned 3 Boeing 737NG leased aircraft.
Under the terms of the 2013 Boeing Contract, Ryanair agreed to purchase 183 Boeing 737-800 aircraft over a five-year period from fiscal years 2015 to 2019, with delivery beginning in September 2014 and ending in December 2018. These aircraft benefited from a net effective price not dissimilar to that under the 2005 Boeing Contract. Under the terms of the 2014 Boeing Contract, which was repriced in December 2020, Ryanair has agreed to purchase 210 new Boeing 737-8200 “Gamechanger” aircraft delivering between fiscal years 2022 and 2025. Deliveries commenced in June 2021. The new aircraft will be used on new and existing routes to grow the Ryanair Group’s business.
The Boeing 737-8200 represents the newest generation of Boeing's 737 aircraft. It is a short-to-medium range aircraft and seats 197 passengers (eight (4%) more than Ryanair’s existing Boeing 737-800 189 seat fleet). The basic price (equivalent to a standard list price for an aircraft of this type) for each of the Boeing 737-8200 series aircraft under the 2014 Boeing Contract is approximately US$102.5m. Net of basic credits and reflective of price escalation over the original scheduled delivery timeframe, the value of the 210 Boeing 737-8200 aircraft under the 2014 Boeing Contract is approximately US$9.6bn.
Boeing has granted Ryanair certain price concessions as part of the 2014 Boeing Contract. As a result, the "effective price" (the purchase price of the new aircraft net of discounts received from Boeing) of each new aircraft will be significantly below the basic price mentioned above. The effective price applies to all new aircraft delivering from fiscal year 2022 through to fiscal year 2025.
For additional details on the Boeing contracts, scheduled aircraft deliveries and related expenditures and their financing, see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Liquidity and Capital Resources.”
The Boeing 737 is the world’s most widely used commercial aircraft and exists in a number of generations, the Boeing 737-8200 being the most recent in current production.
The Boeing 737NGs are fitted with CFM 56-7B engines and have advanced CAT III Autoland capability, advanced traffic collision avoidance systems, and enhanced ground-proximity warning systems. The Boeing 737-8200 are fitted with CFM LEAP-1B engines which, combined with the Advanced Technology winglet and other aerodynamic improvements, should reduce fuel consumption by up to approximately 16% on a per seat basis compared to the Boeing 737NGs in Ryanair’s configuration and reduce operational noise emissions by approximately 40%.
For additional information, please see “Item 3—Key Information—Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Company—A majority of Ryanair’s aircraft and certain parts are sourced from a single supplier; therefore, Ryanair would be materially and adversely affected if such supplier were unable to provide additional equipment or support”.
At March 31, 2021, the average aircraft age of the Company’s Boeing 737 fleet was approximately 9 years.
As of June 30, 2021, the Company had a fleet of 29 leased Airbus A320 aircraft (unchanged from March 31, 2021). These aircraft are operated by Lauda, as a wet lease operator for the Group, and have 180 seats. They are powered by a mix of CFM 56-5B and Pratt & Whitney V2500 engines. At March 31, 2021, the average aircraft age of the Company’s leased Airbus A320 fleet was approximately 13.9 years and the average remaining lease term on these aircraft was 3.3 years, with the first aircraft due to return off lease in November 2022.
The Company expects to have an operating fleet comprising approximately 600 narrow-body aircraft at March 31, 2025, depending on the level of lease hand-backs and aircraft disposals. The operating fleet will likely comprise of primarily Boeing 737s.
Training and Regulatory Compliance
Ryanair currently owns and operates 11 Boeing 737-800NG, 3 Boeing 737-8200 and 2 A320 full flight simulators for pilot training. The simulators were purchased from CAE Electronics Ltd. of Quebec, Canada (“CAE”). In addition, Ryanair currently owns and operates 9 state of the art, fixed base simulators from Multi Pilot Simulations (“MPS”) which are used for pilot assessments and pilot training. In fiscal year 2021, Ryanair, in partnership with Aviation Flight Academy (AFA), developed a new, state of the art, training center in Dublin which includes 1 Boeing 737-8200 full flight simulator, 1 Boeing 737-8200 fixed base simulator, 2 A320 full flight simulators, 1 A320 fixed base simulator and a full Boeing 737 Cabin Trainer.
Management believes that Ryanair is currently in compliance with all applicable regulations and EU directives concerning its fleet of Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 aircraft and will comply with any regulations or applicable EU and UK directives that may come into effect in the future. However, there can be no assurance that the FAA, EASA, the UK CAA or other regulatory authorities will not recommend or require other safety-related undertakings that could adversely impact the Company’s results of operations or financial condition, in particular safety-related undertakings related to the Boeing 737-8200. See “Item 3. Key Information—Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Airline Industry— Safety-Related Undertakings Could Affect the Company’s Results.”
Ryanair provides various ancillary services and engages in other activities connected with its core air passenger service, including non-flight scheduled services, internet-related services, and the in-flight sale of beverages, food, and merchandise.
Ryanair primarily markets car hire, accommodation services and travel insurance through its website and mobile app. Ryanair offers car hire services via a contract with RentalCars. For hotel and accommodation services, Ryanair launched Ryanair Rooms in October 2016 to market hotels, hostels, B&Bs, homestays and villas during and after the booking process. Ryanair receives a commission on these sales.
As part of its commitment to safety, Ryanair endeavors to hire qualified maintenance personnel, provide proper training to such personnel, and maintain its aircraft in accordance with EASA Regulations and European industry standards. While Ryanair seeks to maintain its fleet in a cost-effective manner, management does not seek to extend Ryanair’s low-cost operating strategy to the areas of maintenance, training or quality control.
Ryanair’s quality assurance department deals with oversight of all maintenance activities in accordance with EASA Part 145. EASA, which established Part 145, came into being on September 28, 2003; through the adoption of Regulation (EC) No. 1592/2002 of the European Parliament, and its standards superseded the previous Joint Aviation Authority (“JAA”) requirements. See “¾Government Regulation¾Regulatory Authorities” below. Ryanair is licensed to operate approved maintenance training courses under a Part 147 approval from the U.K. CAA in its training school at London Stansted Airport and Glasgow Prestwick. It is also licensed to operate approved maintenance training courses under a Part 147 approval by the Irish Aviation Authority (“IAA”) in Dublin and by the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (“ENAC”) in Bergamo.
Ryanair is itself an EASA Part 145-approved maintenance organization and provides its own routine aircraft maintenance and repair services. Ryanair also performs certain line maintenance checks on its aircraft, including pre-flight and daily checks at some of its bases, as well as A-checks at its Dublin, London (Stansted), Madrid, Hahn, Vienna and Bergamo facilities to support line maintenance on Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 aircraft. Ryanair performs the majority of its Boeing 737 heavy airframe maintenance utilizing a Ryanair associated Part 145 approval/organization for heavy maintenance with a seasonal use of third-party maintenance repair and overhaul (the “MRO”) facilities. Ryanair operates a six-bay hangar facility at its base at Glasgow (Prestwick) in Scotland. In addition, Ryanair has hangar facilities in Kaunas (2 bays, Lithuania), Wroclaw (2 bays, Poland) and Seville (2 bays, Spain) which are used for C-check maintenance activities. Ryanair is currently planning to extend the hangar facilities in Seville for heavy maintenance by the end of fiscal year 2022 from 2 to 5 bays.
Ryanair has a 5-bay hangar and stores facility at its London (Stansted) airport base enabling Ryanair to carry out line maintenance on its expanding fleet. This facility has eight full flight simulators (including 2 Boeing 737-8200, installed in March 2019 and September 2019), 3 fixed base simulators and the associated training rooms. Ryanair in partnership with Aviation Flight Academy (AFA) has developed a separate training facility adjacent to the hangar to accommodate a full-size Boeing 737NG training aircraft to allow for cabin crew and engineering training. Ryanair has 5 simulators in its East Midlands facility (3 full flight and 2 fixed based). Ryanair operates a 2-bay hangar in Vienna to maintain a mix of Airbus and Boeing aircraft and, in fiscal year 2021, built a new pilot and cabin crew training facility in Dublin which accommodates Boeing and Airbus full flight simulators to meet the increased training needs of the Group. Ryanair has a 30-year sole-tenancy agreement with Frankfurt (Hahn) airport where it maintains a 2-bay hangar and
stores facility. This facility allows Ryanair to carry out additional line maintenance including A-checks. Ryanair has two single-bay hangars and an additional leased hangar in Bergamo, Italy (3 in total), which are used for line maintenance activities and A-checks. Ryanair has also built a 1 bay hangar in Madrid to support aircraft located in Spain and operates 2 leased hangars at Dublin Airport. Ryanair has also built a technological center of excellence in Bergamo with 2 full flight simulators, 1 fixed base simulator and a full-size Boeing 737NG training aircraft to allow for pilot, engineering and cabin crew training.
Maintenance and repair services that may become necessary while an aircraft is located at other airports served by Ryanair are provided by other EASA Part 145-approved contract maintenance providers. Aircraft return each evening to Ryanair’s bases, where they are examined by either Ryanair’s approved personnel or by local EASA Part 145-approved companies.
Ryanair expects to be dependent on external service contractors for Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 maintenance, particularly for engine and component maintenance, for the foreseeable future, notwithstanding the capabilities provided by its maintenance facilities at Bergamo, Dublin, Frankfurt (Hahn), Glasgow (Prestwick), Kaunas, London (Stansted), Madrid, Seville and Wroclaw. See “Item 3. Key Information – Risk Factors – Risks Related to the Company - The Company Is Dependent on External Service Providers”.
Ryanair contracts out engine overhaul service for its Boeing 737-800 aircraft to CFM under a ten-year agreement to December 2027, with an option for extension, which is a follow on to the previous General Electric Engine Services agreement. This comprehensive maintenance contract provides for the repair and overhaul of the CFM56-7B series engines fitted to Ryanair’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft, the repair of parts and general technical support for the fleet of engines. CFM mainly uses its EASA Part 145-approved repair facility in Cardiff, Wales for this work, but also uses its EASA Part 145-approved facility in Celma (Brazil), Paris (France) and Queretaro (Mexico). By contracting with experienced EASA Part 145-approved maintenance providers, management believes it is better able to ensure the quality of its engine maintenance. Ryanair assigns EASA Part 145-certified mechanics/engineers to oversee all engine overhauls performed by third parties. Engine Maintenance providers are also monitored closely by the national authorities under EASA and national regulations. Ryanair trained engineering staff with Boeing and CFM in advance of the introduction of the Boeing 737-8200 aircraft.
Ryanair has not had a single passenger or flight crew fatality in its 36-year operating history. Ryanair demonstrates its commitment to safe operations through its safety policy, training, procedures, its investment in safety-related equipment, and its adoption of an internal open and confidential reporting system for safety issues. The Company’s Board of Directors also has a Safety & Security Committee to review and discuss air safety and security related issues. Mike O’Brien, a Non-Executive Director, is the joint chair of this Committee (along with the Ryanair Accountable Manager, Neil Sorahan), and reports to the Board of Directors. Ryanair’s Chief Risk Officer, Carol Sharkey, chairs quarterly meetings of the Group Airlines Accountable Managers (Group Safety & Security Committee) and Mike O’Brien attends these meetings. This forum facilitates the sharing of best Safety and Security practice across the Group.
Ryanair’s flight crew training is oriented towards accident prevention and integrates with the Safety Management System to cover all aspects of flight operations. Threat and Error Management (“TEM”) is at the core of all flight crew training programs. Ryanair maintains full control of the content and delivery of all flight crew training, including initial, recurrent, and upgrade phases. All training programs are approved by the relevant National Aviation Authority, (including the IAA, TM-CAD Malta and the Polish CAA) which regularly audits operations control standards and flight crew training standards for compliance with EU legislation. All Boeing 737s that Ryanair has bought are certified for Category IIIA landings (automatic landings with minimum horizontal visibility of 200 meters and a 50 feet decision height).
Ryanair has a comprehensive and documented Safety Management System. Management encourages flight crews to report any safety-related issues through the Air Safety Report (“ASR”) reporting program, which is available online. Also available to crew is Ryanair’s Confidential Reporting System (“RCRS”) which affords personnel the opportunity to report directly to the Safety Officer any event, error, or discrepancy in operations that they do not wish to report through standard reporting channels. Management uses the de-identified information reported through all reporting systems to modify operating procedures and improve flight operations standards as necessary. Additionally, Ryanair promotes the use of CHIRP, a confidential reporting system that is endorsed by the U.K. CAA as an alternative confidential reporting channel.
Ryanair has installed an automatic data capturing system on each of its Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 aircraft. This system captures and downloads aircraft performance information for use as part of Operational Flight Data Monitoring (“OFDM”) which automatically provides a confidential report on exceedances from normal operating limitations detected during the course of each flight. The purpose of this system is to monitor operational trends and inform management of any instance of an operational limit being exceeded. By analyzing these reports, management can identify undesirable trends and potential areas of operational risk, so as to take steps to rectify such deviations, thereby ensuring adherence to Ryanair’s flight safety standards.
Ryanair provides its own aircraft and passenger handling and ticketing services at Dublin Airport. Third parties provide these services to Ryanair at most other airports it serves. Blue Handling (part of the Omniserve Group) provides Ryanair’s ticketing, passenger and aircraft handling, and ground handling services at Ryanair’s largest base, Stansted, while similar services in continental Europe are generally provided by the local airport authorities, either directly through sub-contractors, or partners in self-handling at airports in Spain, Portugal and Poland. Management attempts to obtain competitive rates for such services by negotiating multi-year contracts at fixed prices with growth incentives where possible. These contracts are generally scheduled to expire in one to five years, unless renewed, and certain contracts may be terminated by either party before their expiry upon prior notice. Ryanair will need to enter into similar agreements in any new markets it may enter. See “Item 3. Key Information—Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Company—The Company Is Dependent on External Service Providers.”
As with other airlines, Ryanair must pay airport charges each time it lands and accesses facilities at the airports it serves. Depending on the policy of the individual airport, such charges can include landing fees, passenger loading fees, security fees and parking fees. Ryanair attempts to negotiate discounted fees by delivering annual increases in passenger traffic and/or access to new destinations, and opts, when practicable, for less expensive facilities, such as less convenient gates and the use of outdoor boarding stairs rather than more expensive jetways. Nevertheless, there can be no assurance that the airports Ryanair uses will not impose higher airport charges in the future and that any such increases would not adversely affect the Company’s operations.
See “Item 3. Key Information—Risk Factors¾Risks Related to the Company¾Ryanair’s Continued Growth is Dependent on Access to Suitable Airports; Charges for Airport Access are Subject to Increase.” See also “Item 8. Financial Information—Other Financial Information¾Legal Proceedings¾EU State Aid-Related Proceedings” for information regarding legal proceedings in which Ryanair’s economic arrangements with several publicly owned airports are being contested.
The cost of jet fuel accounted for approximately 22% and 37% of Ryanair’s total operating expenses in the fiscal years ended 2021 (reduced due to lower flying as a result of European Governments’ travel restrictions implemented as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic) and 2020, respectively. In each case, this accounts for costs after giving effect to the Company’s fuel hedging activities but excludes de-icing costs, which accounted for approximately 0.8% and 0.6% of total fuel costs in the fiscal years ended 2021 and 2020 respectively. The future availability and cost of jet fuel cannot be predicted with any degree of certainty, and Ryanair’s low-fares policy limits its ability to pass on increased fuel costs to passengers through increased fares. Jet fuel prices are dependent on crude oil prices, which are quoted in U.S. dollars. If the value of the U.S. dollar strengthens against the euro, Ryanair’s fuel costs, expressed in euro, may increase even in absence of any increase in the U.S. dollar price of jet fuel. Ryanair has also entered into foreign currency forward contracts to hedge against some currency fluctuations. See “Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk— Foreign Currency Exposure and Hedging.”
Ryanair has historically entered into arrangements providing for significant protection against fluctuations in fuel prices, generally through forward contracts covering periods of up to 18 to 24 months of anticipated jet fuel requirements. If capacity is significantly reduced, as was the case in fiscal year 2021 due to European Governments, response to the spread of Covid-19, these forward contracts may become ineffective for hedge accounting purposes. See “Item 3. Key Information—Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Company—Changes in Fuel Costs and Availability Affect the Company’s Results” and “Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk—Fuel Price Exposure and Hedging” for additional information on recent trends in fuel costs and the Company’s related hedging activities, as well as certain associated risks. See also “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Fiscal Year 2021 Compared with Fiscal Year 2020—Fuel and Oil.”
Ryanair is exposed to potential catastrophic losses that may be incurred in the event of an aircraft accident or terrorist incident. Any such accident or incident could involve costs related to the repair or replacement of a damaged aircraft and its consequent temporary or permanent loss from service. In addition, an accident or incident could result in significant legal claims against the Company from injured passengers and others who experienced injury or property damage as a result of the accident or incident, including ground victims. Ryanair maintains aviation third-party liability insurance, passenger liability insurance, employer liability insurance, directors’ and officers’ liability insurance, aircraft insurance for aircraft loss or damage, and other business insurance in amounts per occurrence consistent with industry standards. Ryanair believes its insurance coverage is adequate, although not comprehensive. There can be no assurance that the amount of such coverage will not need to be increased, that insurance premiums will not increase significantly or that Ryanair will not be forced to bear substantial losses from accidents. Ryanair’s insurance does not cover claims for losses incurred when, due to unforeseen events, airspace is closed and aircraft are grounded, such as the airspace closures described in “Item 3. Key Information—Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Company—The Covid-19 pandemic and measures to reduce its spread have had, and will likely continue to have, a material adverse impact on the Company’s business, results of operations, financial conditions and liquidity and “—Risks Related to the Airline Industry—Extreme Weather Events Could Affect the Company and Have a Material Adverse Effect on the Company’s Results of Operations.”
The cost of insurance coverage for certain third-party liabilities arising from “acts of war” or terrorism increased dramatically as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Ryanair’s insurers have indicated that the scope of the Company’s current war-related insurance coverage may exclude certain types of catastrophic incidents, which may result in the Company seeking alternative coverage.
Ryanair has established Aviation Insurance Limited (“AIL”), a wholly owned captive insurance company subsidiary based in Malta, to provide the Company with self-insurance as part of its ongoing risk-management strategy. AIL underwrites a portion of the Company’s aviation insurance program, which covers not only the Company’s aircraft but also its liability to passengers and to third parties. AIL reinsures virtually all of the aviation insurance risk it underwrites with recognized third parties in the aviation reinsurance market, with the amount of AIL’s maximum aggregate exposure not currently subject to such reinsurance agreements being equal to approximately US$15m. In addition to aviation insurance, AIL underwrites most of the single and multi-trip travel insurance policies sold on Ryanair.com.
Council Regulation (EC) No. 2027/97, as amended by Council Regulation (EC) No. 889/2002, governs air carrier liability. This legislation provides for unlimited liability of an air carrier in the event of death or bodily injuries suffered by passengers, implementing the Warsaw Convention of 1929 for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to Transportation by Air, as amended by the Montreal Convention of 1999. Ryanair has extended its liability insurance to meet the appropriate requirements of the legislation. See “Item 3. Key Information—Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Airline Industry—The Company Faces the Risk of Loss and Liability” for information on the Company’s risks of loss and liability.
The following are the principal facilities owned or leased by the Ryanair Group:
Administrative Offices / Aircraft Maintenance
Airside Business Park, Dublin
Offices, Travel Labs Dublin & Training Center
Woodford Business Park, Dublin
Cabin Crew, Engineering & Simulator Training Center
Vienna Airport (Hangar)
Enterprise House, Stansted
Satellite 3, Stansted Airport
Stansted Airport (Hangar)
Aircraft Maintenance and Simulator Training Center
Stansted Storage Facilities
East Midlands Airport
Simulator Training Center
Prestwick Airport (Hangar)
Frankfurt (Hahn) Airport (Hangar)
Aircraft Maintenance & Simulator Training Center
Bergamo Airport (Hangar 1)
Bergamo Airport (Hangar 2)
Bergamo Airport (Hangar 3)
Bergamo Airport Technological Centre of Excellence
Cabin Crew, Engineering & Simulator Training Center
Wroclaw Airport, Poland (Hangar)
Travel Labs Poland
Kaunas Airport (Hangar)
Madrid Airport (Hangar)
Travel Labs Madrid
Seville, Spain (Hangar)
Ryanair has agreements with the DAA, the Irish government authority charged with operating Dublin Airport, to lease check-in counters and other space at the passenger and cargo terminal facilities at Dublin Airport. The airport office facilities used by Ryanair at London (Stansted) are leased from the airport authority; similar facilities at each of the other airports Ryanair serves are provided by third party service providers.
Ryanair’s name and logo are registered as European Union Trade Marks (“EUTMs”). Ryanair has also registered the slogans “Ryanair.com The Low Fares Website” and “Low Fares. Made Simple” and the domain name “Ryanairhotels.com” as EUTMs. An EUTM allows a trademark owner to obtain a single registration of its trademark, which registration affords uniform protection for that trademark in all EU member states. The registration gives Ryanair an exclusive monopoly over the use of its trade name in respect of similar services and the right to sue for trademark infringement should another party use an identical or similar mark in relation to identical or similar services.
As of January 1, 2021, registered EUTMs have been automatically registered as equivalent national U.K. trademarks.
Trademarks owned by the Company include:
|●||European Union (Word) Trade Mark registration number 004168721 comprised of the word “Ryanair” in classes 16, 28, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39 and 42 (Nice Classification), and equivalent U.K. trademark number UK00904168721, protected until December 13, 2024;|
|●||European Union (Figurative) Trade Mark registration number 000338301 comprising the following graphic representation:|
in classes 16, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39 and 42 (Nice Classification) and class 22.01.16 (Vienna classification), and equivalent U.K. trademark number UK00900338301, protected until August 21, 2026;
|●||European Union (Figurative) Trade Mark registration number 001493329 comprising the following graphic representation|
in classes 16, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39 and 42 (Nice Classification) and class 27.05.01 (Vienna classification), and equivalent U.K. trademark number UK00901493329, protected until February 4, 2030;
|●||European Union (Word) Trade Mark registration number 004187721 comprised of the word “Ryanairhotels.com” in classes 16, 39 and 43 (Nice Classification), and equivalent U.K. trademark number UK00904187721, protected until January 13, 2025;|
|●||European Union (Word) Trade Mark registration number 013185988 comprised of the word “LOW FARES. MADE SIMPLE” in classes 16, 28, 35, 36, 37, 38, and 42 (Nice Classification), and equivalent U.K. trademark number UK00913185988, protected until August 19, 2024.|
|●||European Union (Word) Trade Mark registration number 18295804 comprised of the word “Lauda Europe” in classes 12, 16, 18, 25, 28, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 43, protected until 25 August 2030.|
|●||United Kingdom (Word) Trade Mark registration number UK00003247027 comprised of the word “Buzz About” in class 39, protected until 29 July 2027.|
Ryanair’s Environmental Policy, commits the Group to what the Board and management believe are ambitious future environmental targets, building on impressive achievements to date, including commitments to address climate change, and the priorities and policies which will allow the Group to continue to lower CO2 emissions and noise pollution.
Ryanair’s Environmental Policy illustrates Ryanair’s commitment to managing its impact on the environment, with key targets and achievements including:
|●||Reduce CO2 per revenue passenger kilometer (RPK) to below 60 grams by 2030;|
|●||Becoming the first Airline Group to publish its CO2 statistics monthly;|
|●||Achieving net carbon zero by 2050;|
|●||Investing billions of euro in new, fuel and noise efficient aircraft;|
|●||Eliminate non-recyclable plastics over the next 5 years. (Over 80% removed at the end of fiscal year 2021);|
|●||Investment in Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and Gold Standard carbon projects funded by our Voluntary Carbon Contribution scheme;|
|●||Appointment of a Director of Sustainability to achieve ambitious environmental commitments;|
|●||Improve the Group’s CDP climate protection rating from “B-“ to an “A” rating;|
|●||Partnered with Trinity College Dublin to launch a Sustainable Aviation Research Centre;|
|●||Set a goal to power 12.5% of our flights with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).|
Ryanair manages its impact on the environment and lowers CO2 emissions by operating the youngest fleet of any major airline group in Europe, achieving high load factors and efficient fuel burn. These enable Ryanair to minimize fuel and energy consumption and reduce noise pollution.
EU air carriers such as the Company and the Group Airlines are generally able to provide passenger services on domestic routes within any EU member state outside their home country, as well as between EU member states without restriction, subject to applicable EU and national regulations implemented by competent authorities, including the European Commission and EASA, as well as oversight by the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation (“Eurocontrol”). The Group Airline are also subject to national regulation in their home countries, which is implemented primarily by (i) in Ireland, the Irish Commission for Aviation Regulation (“CAR”), the Irish Aviation Authority (“IAA”) and the Irish Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (“DTTAS”) in the case of Ryanair DAC, (ii) in Poland, the Polish Civil Aviation Authority (“Polish CAA”) in the case of Buzz, (iii) in Malta, Transport Malta and the Maltese Civil Aviation Directorate (“Maltese CAD”) in the case of Lauda Europe and Malta Air, and (iv) in the United Kingdom, the U.K. CAA and the U.K. Department for Transport (“U.K. DfT”) in the case of Ryanair U.K.
Management believes that the present regulatory environment in the EU is generally characterized by high sensitivity to safety and security issues, which is demonstrated by intensive reviews of safety-related procedures, training and equipment by the national and EU regulatory authorities. During the Covid-19 crisis, various public health measures have also been imposed on airlines, including requirements in certain countries to verify passenger’s health documentation and, in certain cases, restrictions on the freedom to operate flights.
Commission for Aviation Regulation. CAR is responsible for issuing operating licenses to Irish air carriers under the provisions of EU Regulation 1008/2008. The criteria for granting an operating license include, inter alia, an air carrier’s financial fitness, the adequacy of its insurance and the fitness of its management. In addition, EU regulations require that (i) the air carrier must be owned, for the purposes of EU Regulation 1008/2008, and continue to be owned (directly or through majority ownership) by EU member states and/or EU nationals and (ii) the air carrier must at all times be effectively controlled by such EU member states or EU nationals. CAR has broad authority to revoke an operating license. See “Item 10. Additional Information––Limitations on Share Ownership by Non-EU Nationals.” See also “Item 3. Key Information—Risk Factors––Risks Related to Ownership of the Company’s Ordinary Shares or ADRs—EU Rules Impose Restrictions on the Ownership of Ryanair Holdings’ Ordinary Shares by Non-EU nationals and the Company has Applied a Ban on the Purchase of Ordinary Shares by Non-EU Nationals since 2002” above.
Ryanair’s current operating license (No 05/16) was issued by the CAR on September 20, 2016 and is subject to periodic review.
Irish Aviation Authority. The IAA is primarily responsible for regulating the safety, security and technical aspects of aviation in Ireland. The IAA has broad regulatory and enforcement powers, including the authority to require reports and investigate and institute enforcement proceedings.
To operate in the EU, an Irish air carrier is required to hold an AOC granted by the IAA attesting to the air carrier’s operational and technical competence to conduct airline services with specified types of aircraft. The IAA has broad authority to amend or revoke an AOC, with Ryanair’s ability to continue to hold its AOC being subject to ongoing compliance with current and future applicable statutes, rules and regulations pertaining to the airline industry. Ryanair DAC’s current AOC (No IE 07/94) was issued by the IAA on October 21, 2020.
Each aircraft operated by Ryanair DAC is required to have a Certificate of Airworthiness issued by the IAA. The validity of each Certificate of Airworthiness, and the Company’s Flight Operations Department, flight personnel, flight and emergency procedures, aircraft, and maintenance facilities are each subject to periodic review and inspections by the IAA.
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. The DTTAS is responsible for implementation of certain EU and Irish legislation and international standards relating to air transport.
Maltese Civil Aviation Directorate. The Maltese CAD is Malta's aviation regulator, assisting the Maltese Director General for Civil Aviation in fostering the development of civil aviation in Malta within a safety oversight system. The Maltese CAD is responsible for: the safety of aircraft, aircraft and aerodrome operators, air navigation service providers, licensing of aeronautical personnel and the conclusion of international air services agreements. To operate in the EU, a Maltese air carrier is required to hold an AOC granted by the Maltese CAD attesting to the air carrier’s operational and technical competence to conduct airline services with specified types of aircraft. The Maltese CAD has authority to amend or revoke the AOC, with Lauda Europe’s and Malta Air’s ability to continue to hold its AOC being subject to ongoing compliance with applicable statutes. Lauda Europe’s and Malta Air’s flight operations, aircraft, maintenance facilities and air crew are subject to ongoing review and inspections by the Maltese CAD.
The Company’s subsidiary, Malta Air, obtained an AOC (No MT-57) and operating license (No (CAD/MT-57) from the Maltese CAD on June 12, 2019.
The Company’s subsidiary, Lauda Europe, obtained an AOC (No MT-62) and operating license (No (CAD/MT-62) from the Maltese CAD on September 4, 2020.
Transport Malta. Transport Malta is a government body overseeing transport in Malta, including the work of the Maltese CAD. It is responsible for implementation of certain EU and Maltese legislation and international standards relating to air transport.
Polish Civil Aviation Authority. The Polish CAA is a government body and the civil aviation supervisory authority in Poland. Apart from certification and licensing of airlines, the Polish CAA performs operational and regulatory functions in all matters relating to qualifications of personnel, safety, security, as well as maintaining registers of aircraft, personnel and training entities, amongst others.
The Company’s subsidiary Ryanair Sun S.A., operating as Buzz, obtained an AOC (No PL-066) and operating license (No ULC-LER-1/4000-0156/06/17) from the Polish CAA in April 2018.
U.K. Civil Aviation Authority. The U.K. CAA is primarily responsible for: ensuring safety standards, consumer protection, efficient use of airspace and security risks. To operate in the EU, a U.K. air carrier is required to hold an AOC granted by the U.K. CAA attesting to the air carrier’s operational and technical competence to conduct airline services with specified types of aircraft. The U.K. CAA has an authority to amend or revoke the AOC, with Ryanair U.K.’s ability to continue to hold its AOC being subject to ongoing compliance with applicable statutes. Ryanair U.K.’s flight operations, aircraft, maintenance facilities and air crew are subject to ongoing review and inspections by the U.K. CAA.
The Company’s subsidiary, Ryanair U.K., obtained an AOC (No GB 2451) and an operating license (No GB 2451) from the U.K. CAA on December 20, 2018.
U.K. Department for Transport. The U.K. DfT is responsible for implementation of certain EU and U.K. legislation and international standards relating to air transport.
The European Aviation Safety Agency. EASA is an agency of the EU that has been given specific regulatory and executive tasks in the field of aviation safety. The purpose of EASA is to draw-up common standards to ensure the highest levels of safety, oversee their uniform application across Europe and promote them at the global level.
The European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation. Eurocontrol is an autonomous international organization established under the Eurocontrol Convention of December 13, 1960. Eurocontrol is responsible for, inter alia, the safety of air navigation and the collection of charges for air navigation services throughout Europe.
International agreements concerning Eurocontrol provide for the payment of charges to Eurocontrol in respect of air navigation services for aircraft in airspace under the control of Eurocontrol. The relevant legislation imposes liability for the payment of any charges upon the operators of the aircraft in respect of which services are provided and upon the owners of such aircraft or the managers of airports used by such aircraft. The Company’s airline subsidiaries, as aircraft operators, are primarily responsible for the payment to Eurocontrol of charges incurred in relation to their aircraft. The legislation also authorizes the detention of aircraft in the case of default in the payment of any charge for air navigation services by the aircraft operator or the aircraft owner, as the case may be. This power of detention extends to any equipment, stores or documents, which may be onboard the aircraft when it is detained and may result in the possible sale of the aircraft.
European Commission. The European Commission is the EU body with primary responsibility for the preparation of legislative proposals (for adoption by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU) and for the monitoring of the implementation of EU legislation by member states of the EU. The European Commission is also responsible for the enforcement of EU competition law and certain other laws.
The European Commission has published guidelines on the financing of airports and start-up aid to airlines by regional airports that place restrictions on the incentives public airports can offer to airlines delivering traffic, when compared with the commercial freedom available to private airports.
The European Union has adopted several legislative acts aimed at modernizing the EU’s air traffic control system, including the legislative package known as the “single European sky”, and its subsequent amendments “SES2” and “SES2+” For example, EU Regulation 1070/09 (under “SES2”) focused on air traffic control performance and extended the authority of EASA to include airports and air traffic management. The objective of the EU’s policy in this area is to enhance safety standards and the overall efficiency of air traffic control in Europe, as well as to reduce the cost of air traffic control services.
The European Union has also adopted legislation on airport charges (EU Directive 2009/12), which was originally intended to address abusive pricing at monopoly airports. However, the legislation includes all European airports with over five million passengers per year. Management believes that the scope that exists within this Directive to address abuses of their dominant positions by Europe’s larger airports is very limited. See “Item 8. Financial Information¾Other Financial Information¾Legal Proceedings¾EU State Aid-Related Proceedings.”
The European Union has passed legislation calling for increased transparency in airline fares, which requires the inclusion of all mandatory taxes, fees, and charges in advertised prices. Ryanair includes this information in its advertised fares in all markets where it operates. Some consumer law enforcement authorities argue that certain optional price components should be included in advertised prices and/or that certain optional services should be considered mandatory, which could limit the Company’s commercial freedom.
The European Union has also passed legislation governing the allocation and use of airport slots, a directive governing access to the ground handling market at EU airports, a directive on the terms of airlines’ participation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, regulations on passenger rights and the rights of passengers with reduced mobility, and several other legislative acts affecting air transport, including matters of aviation security, noise and social security.
Registration of Aircraft
Pursuant to the Irish Aviation Authority (Nationality and Registration of Aircraft) Order 2015 (the “Order”), the IAA regulates the registration of aircraft in Ireland. In order to be registered or continue to be registered in Ireland, an aircraft must be wholly owned by either (i) a citizen of Ireland or a citizen of another member state of the EU having a place of residence or business in Ireland or (ii) a company registered in and having a place of business in Ireland and having its principal place of business in Ireland or another member state of the EU and not less than two-thirds of the Directors of which are citizens of Ireland or of another member state of the EU. As of the date of this report, nine of the ten Directors of Ryanair Holdings are citizens of Ireland or of another member state of the EU. An aircraft will also fulfill these conditions if it is wholly owned by such citizens or companies in combination. Notwithstanding the fact that these particular conditions may not be met, the IAA retains discretion to register an aircraft in Ireland so long as it is in compliance with the other conditions for registration under the Order. Any such registration may, however, be made subject to certain conditions. In order to be registered, an aircraft must also continue to comply with any applicable provisions of Irish law. The registration of any aircraft can be canceled if it is found that it is not in compliance with the requirements for registration under the Order and, in particular: (i) if the ownership requirements are not met; (ii) if the aircraft has failed to comply with any applicable safety requirements specified by the IAA in relation to the aircraft or aircraft of a similar type; or (iii) if the IAA decides in any case that it is not in the public interest for the aircraft to remain registered in Ireland.
The Company’s aircraft operated by Malta Air and Lauda Europe are registered in Malta, the aircraft operated by Buzz are registered in Poland and the aircraft operated by Ryanair U.K. are registered in the U.K. In each of these countries similar regulations apply to the registration of aircraft as those described above in relation to aircraft operated by Ryanair DAC, which are registered in Ireland.
Regulation of Competition
Competition/Antitrust Law. It is a general principle of EU competition law that no agreement may be concluded between two or more separate economic undertakings that prevents, restricts or distorts competition in the common market or any part of the common market. Such an arrangement may nevertheless be exempted by the European Commission, on either an individual or category basis. The second general principle of EU competition law is that any business or businesses having a dominant position in the EU common market or any substantial part of the common market may not abuse such dominant position. Similar competition laws apply at national level in EU member states, as well as in the U.K. and other non-EU countries where the Company operates. Ryanair is subject to the application of the general rules of competition law as well as specific rules on competition in the airline sector.
An aggrieved person may sue for breach of competition law in the courts of a member state and/or petition the European Commission or a national competition authority for an order to put an end to the breach of competition law. The European Commission and national competition authorities also may impose fines and daily penalties on businesses and the courts may award damages and other remedies (such as injunctions) in appropriate circumstances.
Competition law in Ireland is primarily embodied in the Competition Acts 2002 to 2017. This legislation is modeled on the EU competition law system. The Irish rules generally prohibit anti-competitive arrangements among businesses and prohibit the abuse of a dominant position. These rules are enforced either by public enforcement (primarily by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission) through both criminal and civil sanctions or by private action in the courts. These rules apply to the airline sector but are subject to EU rules that override any contrary provisions of Irish competition law. Ryanair has been subject to an abuse-of-dominance investigation by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission in relation to service between Dublin and Cork. The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (then known as the Competition Authority) closed its investigation in July 2009 with a finding in favor of Ryanair.
State Aid. The EU rules control aid granted by member states to businesses on a selective and discriminatory basis. The EU Treaty prevents member states from granting such aid unless approved in advance by the EU. Any such grant of state aid to an airline is subject to challenge before the European Commission or, in certain circumstances, national courts. If aid is held to have been unlawfully granted it may have to be repaid by the airline to the granting member state, together with interest thereon.
Under the terms of the EU—U.K. TCA, the U.K. has committed to develop a new State aid regime in order to prevent distortions of competition between the U.K. and the EU.
See “Item 3. Key Information¾Risk Factors¾Risks Related to the Company—The Company is subject to legal proceedings alleging state aid at certain airports” and “Item 8. Financial Information¾Other Financial Information¾Legal Proceedings.”
Ryanair’s processing of personal data is subject to increasingly complex data protection laws including the EU’s GDPR as well as relevant national implementing legislation (Irish Data Protection Act 2018). The GDPR is directly applicable across the member states of the European Union and an equivalent data protection regime operates in the U.K. from January 1, 2021. The GDPR imposes strict obligations on companies which process personal data, including
requirements to implement appropriate security measures to ensure that processing, storing and transferring of personal data is done in accordance with the key data protection principles contained in the GDPR. There is an obligation to report data breaches which are likely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of natural persons (and in some instances an obligation to inform the data subjects) within stipulated timeframes. The GDPR also provides data subjects with enhanced rights in respect of their personal data. It introduces new data subject rights, such as the “right to be forgotten” (to be erased from the databases of organizations holding their personal data, including erased from third party providers’ databases, provided there are no legitimate grounds for retaining the personal data) and the right to “data portability” (the right to receive the personal data concerning the data subject in a structured and commonly used and machine-readable format and to transmit that data to a nominated third party).
A breach of the GDPR may result in the imposition of fines by supervisory authorities up to €20m or 4% of annual group-wide turnover (whichever is higher). Supervisory authorities also have the power to audit businesses and require measures be taken by businesses to rectify any non-compliance (which can include orders to suspend data processing activities). Additionally, data subjects are entitled to seek compensation for any damage (including non-material damage) suffered in the event that the processing of their personal data is in breach of the GDPR’s requirements. See “Item 3. Key Information—Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Company—Ryanair is subject to increasingly complex data protection laws and regulations”
Aircraft Noise Regulations. Ryanair is subject to international, national and, in some cases, local noise regulation standards. EU and Irish regulations have required that all aircraft operated by Ryanair comply with Stage 3 noise requirements. All of Ryanair’s aircraft currently comply with these regulations. Certain airports in Ryanair’s network (including London Stansted, London Gatwick, Rome Ciampino, Dublin and Amsterdam) have established local noise restrictions, including limits on the number of hourly or daily operations or the time of such operations.
Company Facilities. Environmental controls are generally imposed under Irish law through property planning legislation, specifically the Local Government (Planning and Development) Acts of 1963 to 1999, the Planning and Development Acts 2000 to 2016 and regulations made thereunder. At Dublin Airport, Ryanair operates on land controlled by the DAA. Planning permission for its facilities has been granted in accordance with both the zoning and planning requirements of Dublin Airport. There is also specific Irish environmental legislation implementing applicable EU directives and regulations, to which Ryanair adheres. From time to time, noxious or potentially toxic substances are held on a temporary basis within Ryanair’s engineering facilities at Dublin Airport, Glasgow (Prestwick), London (Stansted), Frankfurt (Hahn), Stockholm (Skavsta), Bergamo, Wroclaw, Kaunas, Seville, Madrid and Vienna. However, at all times Ryanair’s storage and handling of these substances complies with the relevant regulatory requirements. At Glasgow (Prestwick) and London (Stansted) maintenance facilities, all normal waste is removed in accordance with the Environmental Protection Act of 1996 and Duty of Care Waste Regulations. For special waste removal, Ryanair operates under the Special Waste Regulations 1998. Ryanair adheres to all local and EU regulations as applicable at its facilities.
Ryanair’s Policy on Noise and Emissions. Ryanair is committed to reducing emissions and noise through investments in new, efficient aircraft and engine technologies and the implementation of certain operational and commercial decisions to minimize the environmental impact of its operations. According to the Air Travel Carbon and Energy Efficiency Report published by Brighter Planet, Ryanair is the industry leader in terms of environmental efficiency, and the Company is constantly working towards improving its performance. Additionally, in December 2020, CDP awarded Ryanair a (first time) “B” rating, with an “A” rating for environmental corporate governance.
In December 2005, Ryanair completed the fleet replacement program it commenced in 1999. All of Ryanair’s older Boeing 737-200A aircraft were replaced with Boeing 737-800 “next generation” (“NG”) aircraft, and Ryanair now operates a fleet of mainly Boeing 737-800NG aircraft with an average age of 9 years. The design of the new aircraft is aimed at minimizing drag, thereby reducing the rate of fuel burn and noise levels. The engines are also quieter and more fuel-efficient. Furthermore, by moving to a younger Boeing 737-800NG fleet, Ryanair reduced the unit emissions per
passenger due to the inherent capacity increase in the Boeing 737-800NG aircraft. The Boeing 737-800NG aircraft have a significantly superior fuel-burn to passenger-kilometer ratio than Ryanair’s former fleet of Boeing 737-200A aircraft. Ryanair has installed winglets on all of its Boeing 737-800NG aircraft. Winglets reduce both the rate of fuel burn and carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 4%, and also reduce noise emissions
In September 2014, Ryanair entered into an agreement with Boeing to purchase up to 200 Boeing 737-8200 “Gamechanger” aircraft (including 100 firm orders and 100 aircraft subject to option). The contract was approved by the shareholders of the Company at an extraordinary general meeting (“EGM”) on November 28, 2014. In June 2017, the Group agreed to purchase an additional 10 Boeing 737-8200 aircraft. In April 2018, the Company announced that it had converted 25 Boeing 737-8200 options into firm orders. In December 2020, the Company announced that it had converted the remaining 75 options to firm orders. This brings the Company’s firm order to 210 Boeing 737-8200s with a total contract value of approximately US$9.6bn at standard list price of approximately US$103m per aircraft (net of basic credits and reflective of price escalation over the originally scheduled delivery timeframe). These aircraft have 197 seats and are fitted with CFM-LEAP-1B engines which, combined with the Advanced Technology winglet and other aerodynamic improvements, should reduce fuel consumption by up to approximately 16% on a per seat basis compared to the Boeing 737-800NGs in Ryanair’s configuration and reduce operational noise emissions by approximately 40%. See “—Aircraft” above for details on Ryanair’s fleet plan.
In addition, Ryanair has distinctive operational characteristics that management believes are helpful to the general environment. In particular, Ryanair:
|●||operates with a high-seat density of 189 seats which will increase by 4% to 197 on the Boeing 737-8200 aircraft, the first of which delivered in June 2021, and an all-economy configuration, as opposed to the 162 seats and two-class configuration of the Boeing 737-800 aircraft used by traditional network airlines, reducing fuel burn and emissions per seat-kilometer flown. The Lauda Europe A320 fleet has a high density of 180 seats;|
|●||has reduced per passenger/Km emissions through high load factors (95% in fiscal year 2020, pre Covid-19);|
|●||better utilizes existing infrastructure by operating out of underutilized secondary and regional airports throughout Europe, which limits the use of holding patterns and taxiing times, thus reducing fuel burn and emissions and reducing the need for new airport infrastructure;|
|●||provides mainly direct services as opposed to connecting flights, in order to limit the need for passengers to transfer at main hubs and thus reduces the number of take-offs and landings per journey from four to two, reducing fuel burn and emissions per journey; and|
|●||has minimal scheduled late-night departures of aircraft, reducing the impact of noise emissions.|
Since 2020, the French legislature has been considering a proposal to ban certain short-haul flights, specifically where a suitable train alternative exists. If passed, the legislation is expected to come into force in 2022 and could encourage other states to consider similar restrictions. Ryanair does not believe that any such measures can in fact make a significant contribution to reducing aviation’s environmental impact given that over half of all emissions from European aviation come from long-haul flights (which account for just a few percent of total European flights) and has argued that policy-makers should instead focus on measures that discourage connecting flights, the most environmentally inefficient form of air travel. A widespread introduction of bans on short haul flights could have a negative impact on the Company’s results and operations.
Emissions Trading. On November 19, 2008, the European Union adopted legislation to add aviation to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme as of 2012. This scheme, which had previously applied mainly to energy producers, is a cap-and-trade system for CO2 emissions to encourage industries to improve their CO2 efficiency. Under the legislation, airlines were granted initial CO2 allowances based on historical “revenue ton kilometers” and a CO2 efficiency benchmark. Any shortage of allowances has to be purchased in the open market and/or at government auctions.
Management believes that this legislation is likely to have a negative impact on the European airline industry as it does not sufficiently promote environmentally efficient growth.
Ryanair takes its environmental responsibilities seriously and intends to continue to improve its environmental efficiency and to minimize emissions. Under Regulation 7 of The U.K. Companies Act 2006 (Strategic Report and Directors’ Report) Regulations 2013, Ryanair is obliged to state its annual quantity of emissions in tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. Ryanair’s EU Emissions Trading Scheme monitoring, reporting and allowance surrender obligations are mandated on a calendar year basis. During calendar year 2020, the Ryanair Group emitted 5.0m tCO2 (Calendar 2019: 13.08m), which equates to 0.25 tCO2 (Calendar 2019: 0.086) per passenger. This increase in tCO2 per passenger in 2020 was primarily due to significantly lower load factors (71% in fiscal year 2021, compared to 95% pre Covid-19) arising from European government lockdowns and travel restrictions throughout the Covid-19 crisis.
Aviation Taxes / Minimum Prices Proposals. Ryanair is fundamentally opposed to the introduction of additional aviation taxes, including new environmental taxes, fuel taxes or emissions levies. Ryanair has offered, and continues to offer, among the lowest fares in Europe, to make passenger air travel affordable and accessible to European consumers. Ryanair paid approximately €630m in various environmental taxes in fiscal year 2020 up from approximately €540m in fiscal year 2019. Ryanair believes that the imposition of additional taxes on airlines will not only increase airfares, but will discourage new entrants into the market, resulting in less choice for consumers. Ryanair believes this would ultimately have adverse effects on the European economy in general.
As a company, Ryanair believes in free market competition and that the imposition of aviation taxation would distort competition by favoring the less efficient flag carriers which generally have smaller and older aircraft, lower load factors, which offer connecting flights and operate primarily into congested airports, and which, as a result, have a much higher fuel burn per passenger. Furthermore, the introduction of a tax at a European level only would distort competition between airlines operating solely within Europe and those operating also outside of Europe. Ryanair believes that the introduction of such a tax would also be incompatible with international law.
In 2020 some national politicians in Austria and Italy called for the introduction of minimum prices on airline tickets and/or for a ban on prices lower than the sum of applicable government taxes and airport charges. While management believes that any such restriction of airlines’ commercial freedom would be incompatible with EU law, it cannot be guaranteed that some form of government intervention in airline ticket prices will not be introduced at a national or European level. This would severely impact the Company’s ability to attract the most price sensitive consumers.
The EU Airport Charges Directive of March 2009 sets forth general principles that are to be followed by airports with more than five million passengers per annum, and the airport with the highest passenger movement in each Member State, when setting airport charges, and provides for an appeals procedure for airlines in the event that they are not satisfied with the level of charges. However, Ryanair does not believe that this procedure is effective or that it constrains those airports that are currently abusing their dominant position, in part because the legislation was transposed improperly in certain countries, such as Ireland and Spain, thereby depriving airlines of even the basic safeguards provided for in the Directive. This legislation may in fact lead to higher airport charges, depending on how its provisions are applied by EU member states and subsequently by the courts.
Currently, many of Ryanair Group’s airports have no “slot” allocation restrictions; however, traffic at a substantial number of the airports the Ryanair Group airlines serve, including its primary bases, are regulated by means of “slot” allocations, which represent authorizations to take off or land at a particular airport within a specified time period. EU law regulates the acquisition, transfer and loss of slots. The European Union adopted a regulation in April 2004 (Regulation (EC) No. 793/2004) that made some minor amendments to the then existing allocation system. Slots may be transferred from one route to another by the same carrier, transferred within a group or as part of a change of control
of a carrier, or swapped between carriers. In April 2008, the European Commission issued a communication on the application of the slot allocation regulation, signaling the acceptance of secondary trading of airport slots between airlines. This is expected to allow more flexibility and mobility in the use of slots and will further enhance possibilities for market entry at slot constrained airports. Any future legislation that might create an official secondary market for slots could create a potential source of revenue for certain of Ryanair’s current and potential competitors, many of which have many more slots allocated at primary airports at present than Ryanair. The European Commission proposed a revision to the slots’ legislation reflecting the principle of secondary trading. This revision has been negotiated by the EU institutions since 2014 and is currently stalled. Slot values depend on several factors, including the airport, time of day covered, the availability of slots and the class of aircraft. Ryanair’s ability to gain access to and develop its operations at slot-controlled airports will be affected by the availability of slots for takeoffs and landings at these specific airports. New entrants to an airport are currently given certain privileges in terms of obtaining slots, but such privileges are subject to the grandfathered rights of existing operators that are utilizing their slots. In March 2020, the European Union suspended the “80/20 use it or lose it” rule for the IATA summer season 2020 due to the Covid-19 crisis. The “80/20” rule provides that an airline is entitled to the same slot in the next equivalent scheduling period if it has used the allocated slot 80% of the time. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, airlines were unlikely to be able to demonstrate 80% use in the IATA summer season 2020. The suspension of the “80/20” rule was subsequently extended to the IATA winter season 2020/21, for the same reason. For the summer season 2021, the European Union adopted an amendment to the “80/20” rule, that allowed airlines not to use 50% of their airport slots whilst maintaining historic rights to these slots, and that imposed a reduced “50/50” usage requirement on the remaining slots. This amendment to the standard “80/20” rule may be extended in some form in the IATA winter season 2021/22, and possibly also in future scheduling seasons until traffic recovers to pre-Covid levels. There is no assurance that the Ryanair Group will be able to obtain a sufficient number of slots at the slot-controlled airports that it desires to serve in the future at the time it needs them or on acceptable terms.
The Company transitioned to local contracts of employment in a number of EU countries over the past two years, where this transition has occurred the Company is subject to local laws and regulations, examples below.
Health and occupational safety issues relating to Ryanair employees employed under Irish law are addressed in Ireland by the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 (as amended) and other regulations under that act. Although licenses or permits are not issued under such legislation, compliance is monitored by the Health and Safety Authority (the “Authority”), which is the regulating body in this area. The Authority periodically reviews Ryanair DAC’s health and safety record and when appropriate, issues improvement notices or prohibition notices. Ryanair DAC has responded to all such notices to the satisfaction of the Authority.
For Malta Air and Lauda Europe, health and occupational safety issues are addressed in the Maltese Occupational Health and Safety Authority Act XXVII of 2000. Compliance is monitored by the Occupational Health and Safety Authority (“OHSA”), which enforces the law in workplaces. OHSA advises the Minister responsible for occupational health and safety regarding the making of regulations to promote, maintain and protect a high level of occupational health and safety, as well as takes enforcement action. OHSA can also carry out investigations on any matter concerning occupational health and safety.
The Polish Labor Code (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 1040, with amendments) covers health and occupational safety issues. Under Article 18 of the Labor Code, compliance with provisions on health and occupational safety is monitored by the National Labor Inspectorate (“Państwowa Inspekcja Pracy”) and the National Sanitary Inspectorate (“Państwowa Inspekcja Sanitarna”).
Occupational health and safety issues relating to Ryanair U.K. are governed by various legislation, the primary statute in England being the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (the “Health and Safety at Work Act”). The Health and Safety Executive (“HSE”), monitors compliance with the Health and Safety at Work Act and related legislation.
For certain information about each of the Company’s key facilities, see “—Facilities” above. Management believes that the Company’s facilities are suitable for its needs and are well maintained.
There are no unresolved staff comments.
The following discussion should be read in conjunction with the audited consolidated financial statements of the Company and the notes thereto included in Item 18. Those consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with IFRS.
Ryanair’s current business strategy dates to the early 1990s, when Ryanair became the first European airline to replicate the low-fares, low-cost operating model pioneered by Southwest Airlines Co. in the United States. During the period between 1992 and 1994, Ryanair expanded its route network to include scheduled passenger services between Dublin and Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow (Prestwick). In 1994, Ryanair began standardizing its fleet by purchasing used Boeing 737-200A aircraft to replace substantially all of its leased aircraft. Beginning in 1996, Ryanair continued to expand its service from Dublin to new provincial destinations in the U.K. In August 1996, Irish Air, L.P., an investment vehicle led by David Bonderman and certain of his associates at the Texas Pacific Group, acquired a minority interest in the Company. Ryanair Holdings completed its initial public offering in June 1997.
From 1997 through June 30, 2021, the Ryanair Group launched service on more than 2,500 routes throughout Europe and also increased the frequency of service on a number of its principal routes. During that period, Ryanair established 86 airports as bases of operations. During fiscal years 2019 and 2020 the Company established a low-cost airline group adding startup airlines in Poland (Buzz) and the U.K. (Ryanair U.K.) along with the acquisition of Lauda and Malta Air (both now based in Malta) to Ryanair DAC in Ireland. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—Route System, Scheduling and Fares” for a list of these bases. Ryanair has increased the number of booked passengers from approximately 5m in fiscal year 1999 to approximately 149m in fiscal year 2020 (pre Covid-19), although this dropped to 27.5m in fiscal year 2021 as a result of travel restrictions and European government lockdowns due to the Covid-19 crisis. As of June 30, 2021, Ryanair had a principal fleet of 422 Boeing 737 (including 3 Boeing 737-8200 “Gamechangers”) aircraft, and 29 Airbus A320 aircraft and serves over 200 airports.
Ryanair expects to have approximately 600 narrow-body aircraft in its operating fleet following the delivery of all of the Boeing 737-8200 currently on order over the next five years. This is subject to lease hand-backs and disposals over the period meeting current expectations. See “¾Liquidity and Capital Resources” and “Item 4. Information on the Company¾Aircraft” for additional details.
Since Ryanair pioneered its low-cost operating model in Europe in the early 1990s, its passenger volumes and scheduled passenger revenues have increased significantly because the Company has substantially increased capacity and demand has been sufficient to match the increased capacity. Ryanair’s annual booked passenger volume has grown from approximately 1m passengers in the calendar year 1991 to approximately 152m passengers in the calendar year 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a severe decline in European traffic.
Total revenues decreased from €8,495m in fiscal year 2020 to €1,636m in fiscal year 2021 due to an 81% decrease in traffic to approximately 27.5m, offset by a 1% increase in average fare and a 3% increase in ancillary spend per passenger.
Reduced passenger volumes arising from European Governments’ imposed travel restrictions/lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in operating losses. Ryanair’s total break-even load factor was 83% in fiscal year 2020 and 108% in fiscal year 2021. Ryanair recorded operating profits of €1,127m in fiscal year 2020 and an operating loss of €839m in fiscal year 2021. The Company recorded a profit after taxation of €649m in fiscal year 2020 and a loss after tax of €1,015m in fiscal year 2021. The decrease was primarily attributable to a decline in traffic as European Governments imposed travel restrictions/lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to the grounding of over 99% of its fleet in the first quarter of fiscal year 2021 as a result of EU governments’ reaction to the spread of Covid-19 and the gradual ramp up of flight operations following the relaxation of lockdowns and travel restrictions, the Group expects traffic to increase significantly in fiscal year 2022. See “Item 3. Key Information—Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Company— Ryanair Has Seasonally Grounded Aircraft.”
Historical Results Are Not Predictive of Future Results
The historical results of operations discussed herein may not be indicative of Ryanair’s future operating performance. Ryanair’s future results of operations will be affected by, among other things, flight disruptions and other global economic impacts caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, overall passenger traffic volume; the availability of new airports for expansion; fuel prices; the airline pricing environment in a period of increased competition; the ability of Ryanair to finance its planned acquisition of aircraft and to discharge the resulting debt service obligations; economic and political conditions in Ireland, the U.K. and the EU; the ability of the Company to generate profits for new acquisitions; terrorist threats or attacks (including cyber-attacks) within the EU; seasonal variations in travel; developments in government regulations, litigation and labor relations; foreign currency fluctuations, potential break-up of the Eurozone; Brexit; the availability of aircraft; competition and the public’s perception regarding the safety of low-fares airlines; changes in aircraft acquisition, leasing, and other operating costs; flight interruptions caused by extreme weather events or other atmospheric disruptions; aircraft safety concerns; flight disruptions caused by periodic and prolonged ATC strikes in Europe; the rates of income and corporate taxes paid, and the financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis on European economies. Ryanair expects its depreciation, staff and fuel charges to increase as additional aircraft and related flight equipment are acquired. Future fuel costs may also increase as a result of the depletion of petroleum reserves, the shortage of fuel production capacity, production restrictions imposed by fuel oil producers and the imposition of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) mandates by the EU. Maintenance expenses may also increase as a result of Ryanair’s fleet expansion and replacement program and the two-year delay in the delivery of the new Boeing 737-8200 aircraft. In addition, the financing of new Boeing 737-8200 aircraft will increase the total amount of the Company’s outstanding debt and the payments it is obliged to make to service such debt. The cost of insurance coverage for certain third-party liabilities arising from “acts of war” or terrorism increased dramatically following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. See “Item 3. Key Information—Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Company—The Covid-19 pandemic and measures to reduce its spread have had, and will likely continue to have, a material adverse impact on the Company’s business, results of operations, financial condition and liquidity” and “—Risks related to the Airline Industry— The Company is substantially dependent on discretionary air travel.”
The Company’s net loss for the quarter ended June 30, 2021 (the first quarter of the Company’s fiscal year 2022) was €273m as compared to a net loss of €185m for the corresponding period of the previous year. The Company recorded an increase in operating loss, from an operating loss of €188m in the first quarter of fiscal year 2021 to an operating loss of €305m in the recently completed quarter. Total operating revenues increased from €125m in the first quarter of fiscal year 2021 to €371m in the first quarter of fiscal year 2022. Operating expenses increased from €313m in the first quarter of fiscal year 2021 to €675m in the first quarter of fiscal year 2022, driven primarily by variable costs as traffic increased from 0.5m to 8.1m passengers. The Company’s cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash and
financial assets with terms of less than three months amounted to €4,056m at June 30, 2021 as compared with €3,936m at June 30, 2020.
The following discussion and analysis of Ryanair’s financial condition and results of operations is based on its consolidated financial statements, which are included in Item 18 and prepared in accordance with IFRS.
The preparation of the Company’s financial statements requires the use of estimates, judgments, and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the periods presented. Actual results may differ from these estimates.
The Company believes that its critical accounting policies, which require management’s most difficult, subjective and complex judgments, are those which are described in this section. This critical accounting policies, the judgments and other uncertainties affecting application of these policies and the sensitivity of reported results to changes in conditions and assumptions are factors to be considered in reviewing the consolidated financial statements included in Item 18 and the discussion and analysis below. For additional detail on this policy, see Note 1, “Basis of preparation and significant accounting policies,” to the consolidated financial statements included in Item 18.
As of March 31, 2021, Ryanair had €8.36bn of property, plant and equipment long-lived assets, of which €8.19bn were aircraft. In accounting for long-lived assets, Ryanair must make estimates about the expected useful lives of the assets, the expected residual values of the assets, the cost of major airframe and engine overhaul and the potential for impairment based on the fair value of the assets and the cash flows they generate.
In estimating the lives and expected residual values of its aircraft and the cost of major airframe and engine overhaul, Ryanair has primarily relied on its own and industry experience, recommendations from the Boeing Company (“Boeing”), the manufacturer of all of the Company’s owned aircraft, valuations from appraisers and other available marketplace information. Subsequent revisions to these estimates, which can be significant, could be caused by changes to Ryanair’s maintenance program, changes in utilization of the aircraft, governmental regulations on aging aircraft, changes in new aircraft technology, changes in governmental and environmental taxes, changes in new aircraft fuel efficiency and changing market prices for new and used aircraft of the same or similar types. Ryanair evaluates its estimates and assumptions in each reporting period, and, when warranted, adjusts these assumptions. Generally, these adjustments are accounted for on a prospective basis, through depreciation expense.
Ryanair periodically evaluates its long-lived assets for impairment. Factors that would indicate potential impairment would include, but are not limited to, significant decreases in the market value of an aircraft, a significant change in an aircraft’s physical condition and operating or cash flow losses associated with the use of the aircraft. Despite the losses and cash outflows incurred in the current year as a result of the impact of covid-19, Ryanair is forecasting a return to profitability and positive cash flows in 2022 and subsequent years. Consequently, Ryanair has not yet identified any impairments related to its existing aircraft fleet. The Company will continue to monitor its long-lived assets and the general airline operating environment.
The Company’s estimate of the recoverable amount of aircraft residual values is 15% of current market value of new aircraft, determined periodically, based on independent valuations and actual aircraft disposals during prior periods. Aircraft are depreciated over a useful life of 23 years from the date of manufacture to residual value.
Derivative financial instruments
Ryanair uses various derivative financial instruments to manage its exposure to market risks, including the risks relating to fluctuations in commodity prices and currency exchange rates. Ryanair uses forward contracts for the purchase of its jet fuel (jet kerosene) requirements to reduce its exposure to commodity price risk. It also uses foreign currency forward contracts to reduce its exposure to risks related to foreign currencies, principally the U.S. dollar exposure associated with the purchase of new Boeing 737-8200 aircraft and the U.S. dollar exposure associated with the purchase of jet fuel.
Ryanair recognizes all derivative instruments as either assets or liabilities in its consolidated balance sheet and measures them at fair value. At March 31, 2021, a liability of €46m (2020: net liability €1,228m) was recognized on balance sheet in respect of the Company’s jet fuel and carbon commodity derivative instruments and an asset of €171m (2020: net asset €486m) was recognized in respect of its foreign currency derivative instruments associated with future aircraft purchases.
Jet fuel and foreign currency forward contracts are designated as a hedge of the variability in cash flows of highly probable forecasted transactions, whereby the effective part of any gain or loss on the derivative financial instrument is recognized in other comprehensive income (included in “other reserves” on the balance sheet).
In determining the hedge effectiveness of derivative instruments used to hedge Ryanair’s fuel requirements, there is significant judgement involved in assessing whether the volumes of jet fuel hedged are still expected to be highly probable forecast transactions. Specifically, significant judgement is required in respect of the assumptions related to the timing of the removal of flight restrictions imposed by European governments relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, the expected recovery of passenger demand and the subsequent flight schedules. All of these assumptions impact upon forecast fuel consumption, and minor changes to these assumptions, in particular for those forecast transactions that are still probable to occur, could have a significant effect on the assessment of hedge effectiveness.
In Quarter 2 of fiscal year 2022, the Group expects to operate approximately 83% of its pre Covid-19 schedules, with further growth into the winter.
In respect of foreign currency hedge effectiveness for future aircraft purchases, there is a high degree of judgement involved in assessing whether the future aircraft payments are still considered highly probable of occurring, and the timing of these future payments for aircraft. The timing of future payments for aircraft is dependent on the aircraft manufacturer’s ability to meet forecast aircraft delivery schedules. At June 30, 2021, three Boeing 737-8200 aircraft had delivered, with a further nine due to deliver during summer 2021.
The following table sets forth certain income statement data (calculated under IFRS) for Ryanair expressed as a percentage of Ryanair’s total revenues for each of the periods indicated:
Fiscal Year ended March 31,
Total operating expenses
Fuel and oil
Airport and handling charges
Marketing, distribution and other
Maintenance, materials and repairs
Net finance expense
(Loss)/profit before tax
Tax credit/(expense) on (loss)/profit
(Loss)/profit after taxation
(Loss)/profit after taxation. Ryanair recorded a loss after taxation of €1,015m in fiscal year 2021, as compared with a profit after taxation of €649m in fiscal year 2020. This decrease was primarily attributable to an 81% decline in traffic as European Governments imposed travel restrictions/lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Scheduled revenues. Ryanair's scheduled passenger revenues decreased by 81%, from €5,566m in fiscal year 2020 to €1,036m in fiscal year 2021, primarily reflecting an 81% decline in traffic to 27.5m passengers as European Governments imposed travel restrictions/lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This grounded approx. 99% of the Group’s fleet for almost 4 months (from mid-March to late June). The Group operated approximately 26% of its normal twelve months schedule with a 71% load factor.
Scheduled passenger revenues accounted for 66% of Ryanair's total revenues in fiscal year 2020 and 63% in fiscal year 2021.
Ancillary revenues. Ryanair's ancillary revenues, which comprise revenues from non-flight scheduled operations, in-flight sales and internet-related services, decreased by 80%, from €2,929m in fiscal year 2020 to €600m in fiscal year 2021. The overall decrease in ancillary revenues was due to an 81% decline in traffic to 27.5m passengers offset somewhat by a solid performance in priority boarding and reserved seating.
Operating expenses. As a percentage of total revenues, Ryanair's operating expenses were at 87% in fiscal year 2020 compared to 151% in fiscal year 2021. In absolute terms, total operating expenses decreased by 66%, from €7,367m in fiscal year 2020 to €2,475m in fiscal year 2021, principally as a result of reduction in sectors flown, arising from Covid-19 fleet groundings and cost control initiatives implemented throughout fiscal year 2021. Fuel remained flat as a percentage of total revenues. Airport and handling charges, staff costs, route charges, depreciation, marketing, distribution and other and maintenance, materials and repairs increased as a percentage of total revenues due to lower load factors and reduced flights.
The following table sets forth the amounts in euro cent of, and percentage changes in, Ryanair's operating expenses (on a per passenger basis) for fiscal years 2021 and 2020 under IFRS. This data is calculated by dividing the relevant expense amount (as shown in the consolidated financial statements) by the number of booked passengers in the relevant year as shown in the table of "Selected Operating and Other Data" in Item 3 and rounding to the nearest euro cent; the percentage change is calculated on the basis of the relevant figures before rounding.
At March 31,
Fuel and oil
Airport and handling charges
Marketing, distribution and other
Maintenance, materials and repairs
Total operating expenses
Fuel and oil. Ryanair's fuel and oil costs per passenger increased by 6%, while in absolute terms, these costs decreased by 80% from €2,762m in fiscal year 2020 to €543m in fiscal year 2021, in each case after giving effect to the Group’s fuel hedging activities. The 80% decrease reflected a 75% reduction in sectors flown, arising from Covid-19 fleet groundings. Fuel and oil costs include the direct cost of fuel, the cost of delivering fuel to the aircraft, aircraft de-icing and EU emissions trading costs. The average fuel price paid by Ryanair (calculated by dividing total fuel costs by the number of U.S. gallons of fuel consumed) decreased by 16% from €2.06 per U.S. gallon in fiscal year 2020 to €1.74 per U.S. gallon in fiscal year 2021, in each case excluding the ineffectiveness charge on jet fuel hedges which is included in finance expense in the consolidated income statement.
Airport and handling charges. Ryanair's airport and handling charges per passenger increased by 36% in fiscal year 2021 compared to fiscal year 2020. In absolute terms, airport and handling charges decreased by 75%, from €1,140m in fiscal year 2020 to €287m in fiscal year 2021, broadly reflecting a decline in traffic allied to reduced charges.
Staff costs. Ryanair's staff costs, which consist primarily of salaries, wages and benefits, increased by 130% on a per passenger basis, while in absolute terms, these costs decreased by 57%, from €1,107 million in fiscal year 2020 to €472m in fiscal year 2021. The decrease in absolute terms was primarily attributable to reduced flight hours, Group wide pay cuts and participation in European Government payroll support schemes.
Route charges. Ryanair's route charges per passenger increased by 38%. In absolute terms, route charges decreased by 75%, from €736m in fiscal year 2020 to €187m in fiscal year 2021, primarily as a result of lower sectors arising from Covid-19 travel restrictions.
Depreciation. Ryanair's depreciation per passenger increased by 312%, while in absolute terms these costs decreased by 24% from €749m in fiscal year 2020 to €571m in fiscal year 2021. The decrease was primarily attributable to lower amortization as a result of reduced aircraft utilization, and aircraft sales.
Marketing, distribution and other expenses. Ryanair's marketing, distribution and other operating expenses, including those applicable to the generation of ancillary revenues, increased by 88% on a per passenger basis in fiscal year 2021, while in absolute terms, these costs decreased by 65%, from €579m in fiscal year 2020 to €202m in fiscal year 2021, with the overall decrease reflecting lower discretionary spending across the Group airlines and fewer flights qualifying for EU 261 compensation due to improved (96%) on-time performance.
Maintenance, materials and repairs. Ryanair's maintenance, materials and repair expenses, which consist primarily of the cost of routine maintenance provision for leased aircraft and the overhaul of spare parts, increased by
334% on a per passenger basis, while in absolute terms these expenses decreased by 19% from €256m in fiscal year 2020 to €207m in fiscal year 2021. The decrease in absolute terms during the fiscal year was due to reduced aircraft utilization, offset by lease hand back charges.
Aircraft rentals. These expenses decreased by 6% on a per passenger basis, while in absolute terms these expenses decreased by 82% from €38m reported in fiscal year 2020 to €7m in fiscal year 2021, reflecting 11 fewer leased B737 aircraft in the fleet.
Operating (loss)/profit. As a result of the factors outlined above, an operating loss per passenger was recorded in fiscal year 2021, compared to an operating profit per passenger in fiscal year 2020.
Finance expense. Ryanair's interest and similar charges decreased by €183m, from €480m in fiscal year 2020 to €297m in fiscal year 2021 primarily due to a hedge ineffectiveness charge of €192m (net of tax) in relation to jet fuel hedges (2020: €353m charge) and an €8m charge (net of tax) in relation to ineffective currency cashflow hedges arising from delayed aircraft capital expenditure (2020: €39m gain). This was offset by an increase in gross debt by €1,216m to €5,427m due to €850m Eurobond issuance in September 2020 and the drawdown of £600m unsecured debt under the HMT and Bank of England CCFF, offset by secured debt and lease liability payments.
Finance income. Ryanair’s interest income decreased by €5m from €21m in fiscal year 2020 to €16m in fiscal year 2021, primarily due to lower cash deposits and negative deposit interest rates.
Foreign exchange gains/losses. Ryanair recorded foreign exchange gains of €12m in fiscal year 2021, and foreign exchange gains of €2m in fiscal year 2020, primarily due to the impact of euro exchange rates against U.S. dollar and U.K. pound sterling.
Taxation. The effective tax rate for fiscal year 2021 was 8.4%, as compared to an effective tax rate of 3.2% in fiscal year 2020, reflecting increased deferred tax credits incurred primarily relating to operating losses.
A discussion of fiscal year 2020 compared with fiscal year 2019 is included in Ryanair’s 2020 Annual Report and Form 20-F.
The Company’s results of operations have varied significantly from quarter to quarter, and management expects these variations to continue. Among the factors causing these variations are the airline industry’s sensitivity to general economic conditions and the seasonal nature of air travel. Ryanair typically records higher revenues and income in the first half of each fiscal year ended March 31 than the second half of such year.
Please see Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements included in Item 18 for information on recently issued accounting standards that are material to the Company.
Liquidity. The Company finances its working capital requirements through a combination of cash generated from operations, debt capital market issuances and bank loans for general corporate purposes. See “Item 3. Key Information— Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Company—The Company Will Incur Significant Costs Acquiring New Aircraft and any instability in the Credit and Capital Markets Could Negatively Impact Ryanair’s Ability to Obtain Financing on Acceptable Terms” for more information about risks relating to liquidity and capital resources. The Company had gross cash resources at March 31, 2021 and 2020 of €3,150m and €3,808m, respectively. The €658m reduction in gross cash resources year on year primarily reflects outflows arising from operating losses incurred in fiscal year 2021 coupled with reduced forward booking levels, offset by a reduction in capital expenditure, the receipt of supplier reimbursements, proceeds from share issues and an increase in long-term borrowings.
The Company’s net cash outflow from operating activities in fiscal year 2021 amounted to €2,448m (fiscal year 2020 net cash inflow of €1,327m). The €3,775m decrease in net cash flows from operating activities year on year primarily reflects the Covid-19 pandemic related material deterioration in operating performance year on year together with reduced forward booking levels.
During fiscal year 2021, Ryanair’s primary cash requirements have been for operating expenses, refunds in respect of cancelled services, payments due on unutilized fuel hedges and payments on indebtedness. Proceeds from new long-term borrowings and net proceeds from shares issued were the primary source of funding cash requirements in fiscal year 2021. In fiscal year 2020, Ryanair’s primary cash requirements were for operating expenses, aircraft and aircraft related capital expenditure, payments on related indebtedness, payments of corporation tax and €581m of share buybacks. Cash generated from operations were the primary source for cash requirements in fiscal year 2020.
The Company’s net cash inflows from operating activities (inclusive of net foreign exchange differences) in fiscal years 2020 and 2019 amounted to €1,327m and €1,759m, respectively. The €432m decrease in net cash flows from operating activities before net foreign exchange differences for fiscal year 2020 compared to fiscal year 2019 was principally due to reductions in accrued expenses and profit after tax.
The Company’s net cash provided by investing activities in fiscal year 2021 totaled €937m, primarily reflecting a reduction in financial assets and the receipt of supplier reimbursements, offset by 295m capital expenditure in relation to property, plant and equipment.
The Company’s net cash used in investing activities in fiscal year 2020 totaled €301m, reflecting capital expenditure of €579m, offset by a decrease in financial assets of €278m.
Net cash provided by financing activities (inclusive of net foreign exchange differences) totaled €1,623m in fiscal year 2021, largely reflecting proceeds from new borrowings and net proceeds from shares issued offset by repayments of long-term borrowings and lease liabilities.
Net cash used in financing activities (inclusive of net foreign exchange differences) totaled €287m in fiscal year 2020, largely reflecting share buybacks of €581m and repayments of long-term borrowings of €408m offset by proceeds from a new €750m syndicated bank facility.
Capital Expenditures. Capital Expenditures in fiscal years 2021 and 2020 were €295m and €579m respectively. Prior to fiscal year 2014, Ryanair funded a significant portion of its acquisition of new Boeing 737 aircraft and related equipment through borrowings under facilities provided by international financial institutions on the basis of guarantees issued by the Export-Import Bank of the United States (“Ex-Im Bank”). At March 31, 2021, Ryanair had a fleet of 422 Boeing 737 aircraft, 66 of which were funded by Ex-Im Bank-guaranteed financing. At March 31, 2021, 3 Boeing 737s were financed through lease arrangements, 183 Boeing 737s were financed from Ryanair’s own resources on an unsecured basis and the remaining 171 Boeing 737s, have no outstanding remaining debt. Ryanair has generally been able to generate sufficient funds from operations to meet its non-aircraft acquisition-related working capital requirements. Management believes that the working capital available to the Company is sufficient for its present requirements and will be sufficient to meet its anticipated requirements for capital expenditures and other cash requirements for fiscal year 2022.
The following table sets forth the dates on which and the number of aircraft that will be delivered to the Company:
At March 31,
Fiscal Year End
Firm deliveries under 2014 Boeing Contract
Planned returns or disposals
A320 operating leases
Capital Resources. Ryanair’s debt (including current maturities) totaled €4,211m at March 31, 2020 and €5,427m at March 31, 2021, with the change being primarily attributable to addition of a 5-year (unsecured) €850m Eurobond and £600m unsecured CCFF facility offset by repayments of long term borrowings and lease liabilities. Please see the table “Obligations Due by Period” on page 59 for more information on Ryanair’s long-term debt (including current maturities) and leases as of March 31, 2021. See also Note 13 to the consolidated financial statements included in Item 18 for further information on the maturity profile of the interest rate structure and other information on the Company’s borrowings.
At March 31, 2021, 66 of the aircraft in Ryanair’s fleet had been financed through loan facilities with various financial institutions active in the structured export finance sector and supported by a loan guarantee from Ex-Im Bank. Each of these facilities takes essentially the same form and is based on the documentation developed by Ryanair and Ex-Im Bank, which follows standard market forms for this type of financing. In November 2010, Ryanair financed 7 aircraft through a U.S. dollar-denominated Ex-Im Bank Capital Markets Product (“Eximbond”). The Eximbond has essentially the same characteristics as all previous Ex-Im Bank guaranteed financings with no additional obligations on Ryanair. On the basis of an Ex-Im Bank guarantee with regard to the financing of up to 85% of the eligible U.S. and foreign content represented in the net purchase price of the relevant aircraft, the financial institution investor enters into a commitment letter with the Company to provide financing for a specified number of aircraft benefiting from such guarantee; loans are then drawn down as the aircraft are delivered and payments to Boeing become due. Each of the loans under the facilities are on substantially similar terms, having a maturity of 12 years from the drawdown date and being secured by a first priority mortgage in favor of a security trustee on behalf of Ex-Im Bank.
At March 31, 2021, there were 29 leased A320 aircraft in the Lauda Europe fleet.
Through the use of interest rate swaps or cross currency interest rate swaps, Ryanair has effectively converted a portion of its floating-rate debt under its financing facilities into fixed-rate debt. Approximately 16% of the loans for the aircraft acquired under the above facilities are not covered by such swaps and have therefore remained at floating rates linked to EURIBOR, this is currently managed as part of the Ryanair risk management strategy. The net result is that Ryanair has effectively swapped or drawn down fixed-rate euro-denominated debt with remaining maturities of up to 5 years in respect of approximately 84% of its outstanding aircraft debt financing at March 31, 2021 and approximately 16% of total debt was floating rate at that date.
Ryanair’s ability to obtain additional loans pursuant to each of the facilities to finance the price of future Boeing 737-8200 aircraft purchases is subject to the issuance of further bank commitments and the satisfaction of various contractual conditions. These conditions include, among other things, the execution of satisfactory documentation, the requirement that Ryanair perform all of its obligations under the Boeing agreements and provide satisfactory security interests in the aircraft (and related assets) in favor of the lenders and Ex-Im Bank, and that Ryanair not suffer a material adverse change in its conditions or prospects (financial or otherwise). In addition, as a result of the Company obtaining a BBB credit rating from Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”) and Fitch Ratings and following Ryanair’s issuance of €850m in 1.875% unsecured Eurobonds with a 7-year tenor in June 2014 (repaid in June 2021), issuance of €850m in 1.125% unsecured Eurobonds with an 8-year tenor in March 2015, issuance of €750m in 1.125% unsecured Eurobonds with an 6.5-year tenor in February 2017, issuance of €850m in 2.875% unsecured Eurobonds with a 5-year tenor in September 2020 and €1,200m unsecured Eurobonds with a 5-year tenor at a coupon of 0.875% in May 2021 under its EMTN program, the Company may decide in the future to issue additional debt from capital markets to finance future aircraft deliveries. As part of its Ex-Im Bank guarantee-based financing of the Boeing 737s, Ryanair has entered into certain lease agreements and related arrangements. Pursuant to these arrangements, legal title to 66 aircraft delivered and remaining in the fleet as of March 31, 2021 rests with a number of United States special purpose vehicles (the “SPVs”). The SPVs are the borrowers of record under the loans made or to be made under the facilities, with all of their obligations under the loans being guaranteed by Ryanair Holdings.
These aircraft are financed using a standard Ex-Im Bank “orphan” ownership structure. The shares of the SPVs (which are owned by an unrelated charitable association and not by Ryanair) are in turn pledged to a security trustee in favor of Ex-Im Bank and the lenders. Ryanair operates each of the aircraft pursuant to a finance lease it has entered into with the SPVs, the terms of which mirror those of the relevant loans under the facilities. Ryanair has the right to purchase the aircraft upon termination of the lease for a nominal amount. Pursuant to this arrangement, Ryanair is considered to own the aircraft for accounting purposes under IFRS. Ryanair does not use special purpose entities for off-balance sheet financing or any other purpose which results in assets or liabilities not being reflected in Ryanair’s consolidated financial statements. In addition to its purchase option under the finance lease, Ryanair is entitled to receive the balance of any proceeds received in respect of the aircraft that remain after Ex-Im Bank and the lenders are paid what they are owed under the loan guarantees.
Ryanair has a track record in securing finance for similar sized aircraft purchases. The 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2005 Boeing Contracts totaling 348 aircraft were financed with approximately 66% U.S. Ex-Im Bank loan guarantees and capital markets (with 85% loan to value) financing, 24% through sale and leaseback financing, and 10% through JOLCOs and commercial debt. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Liquidity and Capital Resources.”
Under the Aviation Sector Understanding which came into effect from January 1, 2013, the fees payable to Ex-Im Bank for the provision of loan guarantees significantly increased, thereby making it more expensive than more traditional forms of financing. As a result, Ryanair’s current intention is to finance the new aircraft obtained under the 2014 Boeing Contract through a combination of internally generated cash flows, debt financing from commercial banks, debt financing through the capital markets in a secured and unsecured manner, JOLCOs and sale and leasebacks. These forms of financing are generally accepted in the aviation industry and are currently widely available for companies who have the credit quality of Ryanair. Ryanair may periodically use Ex-Im Bank loan guarantees when appropriate.
Ryanair intends to finance pre-delivery payments (“Aircraft Deposits”) to Boeing in respect of the new aircraft via internally generated cash flows similar to all previous Aircraft Deposit payments.
At March 31, 2021, Ryanair had 32 leased aircraft in the fleet including the 29 Lauda Airbus A320 leases. As a result, Ryanair operates, but does not own, these aircraft, which were leased to provide flexibility for the aircraft delivery program. Ryanair has no right or obligation to acquire these aircraft at the end of the relevant lease terms. All 32 leases are U.S. dollar-denominated and require Ryanair Group airlines to make fixed rental payments and, following the adoption of IFRS16 are shown as lease liabilities on the Group’s balance sheet (with related right of use assets also recognized). 5 of these leases are due to mature in the next 2 years (with 3 Boeing 737-800NG leases maturing before the end of Quarter 1, fiscal year 2022). In addition to the above, the Company financed 30 of the Boeing 737 aircraft delivered between March 2005 and March 2014 with 13-year euro-denominated JOLCOs. None of these JOLCO arrangements are still outstanding as of March 31, 2021. These structures were originally accounted for as finance leases under IAS 17 and were initially recorded at fair value on the Group’s balance sheet. Under each of these contracts, Ryanair had a call option to purchase the aircraft at a pre-determined price after a period of 10.5 years. Ryanair exercised this option for 10 of these aircraft in fiscal year 2021.
Since, under each of the Group’s leases, the Group has a commitment to maintain the relevant aircraft, an accounting provision is made during the lease term for this obligation based on estimated future costs of major airframe checks, engine maintenance checks and restitution of major life limited parts by making appropriate charges to the income statement calculated by reference to the number of hours or cycles operated during the year. Under IFRS, the accounting treatment for these costs with respect to leased aircraft differs from that for aircraft owned by the Company, for which such costs are capitalized and amortized.
Ryanair currently has corporate ratings of BBB from both S&P and Fitch Ratings and a €5bn EMTN program. Ryanair issued €850m in unsecured Eurobonds with a 7-year tenor at a coupon of 1.875% in June 2014 (repaid in June 2021), €850m in unsecured Eurobonds with an 8-year tenor at a coupon of 1.125% in March 2015, €750m in unsecured Eurobonds with a 6.5-year tenor at a coupon of 1.125% in February 2017, €850m in unsecured Eurobonds with a 5-year tenor at a coupon of 2.875% in September 2020, and €1,200m in unsecured Eurobonds with a 5-year tenor at a coupon of 0.875% in May 2021 under this program. All of these issuances are guaranteed by Ryanair Holdings. The Company used the proceeds from these issuances for general corporate purposes.
In May 2019, Ryanair DAC entered into a €750m general corporate purposes unsecured term loan facility, with a syndicate of 10 banks. The facility is at a cost of 0.75% per annum and has a 5-year tenor. Additionally, in April 2020, Ryanair raised £600m unsecured debt under the HMT and Bank of England CCFF at a 0.44% interest rate. This debt was subsequently extended in March 2021 for a further 12 months at a 0.46% interest rate.
The table below sets forth the contractual obligations and commercial commitments of the Company with definitive payment terms, which will require significant cash outlays in the future, as of March 31, 2021. These obligations primarily relate to Ryanair’s aircraft purchase and related financing obligations, which are described in more detail above. For additional information on the Company’s contractual obligations and commercial commitments, see Note 24 to the consolidated financial statements included in Item 18.
The amounts listed under “Purchase Obligations” in the table reflect future obligations for firm aircraft purchases under the existing 2014 Boeing Contract and are calculated by multiplying the number of firm aircraft the Company is obligated to purchase under its agreement with Boeing during the relevant period by the standard list price of approximately US$102.5m for each aircraft (net of basic credits and reflective of price escalation over the original scheduled delivery timeframe, and taking account of advance payments paid in prior fiscal years) pursuant to the relevant contract, with the dollar-denominated obligations being converted into euro at an exchange rate of U.S. $1.1725 = €1.00 (based on the European Central Bank Rate on March 31, 2021). The Company is eligible for further customer specific
credits (reflective, inter alia, of its longstanding partnership with Boeing, its launch customer status for the Boeing 737-8200 aircraft, its commitment to purchase 210 Boeing 737-8200 aircraft under the 2014 Boeing Contract and the delayed commencement of aircraft deliveries), which will reduce the average amount payable per aircraft. Under the terms of the 2014 Boeing Contract, the Company is required to make periodic advance payments of the purchase price for aircraft it has agreed to purchase over the two-year period preceding the scheduled delivery of aircraft with the balance of the purchase price being due at the time of delivery. Purchase obligations detailed below are based on an estimated delivery schedule as of March 31, 2021.
The amounts listed under “Operating Lease Obligations” reflect the Company’s obligations under its aircraft operating lease arrangements at March 31, 2021.
Obligations Due by Period
Less than 1 year
After 5 years
Purchase Obligations (b)
Operating Lease Obligations
Future Interest Payments (c)
Total Contractual Obligations
|(a)||For additional information on Ryanair’s debt obligations, see Note 13 and Note 24 to the consolidated financial statements included in Item 18.|
|(b)||This reflects the 210 firm aircraft ordered under the 2014 Boeing Contract assuming delivery of 61 aircraft in fiscal year 2022, 57 in fiscal year 2023 and 92 thereafter. For additional information on the Company’s purchase obligation, see Note 24 to the consolidated financial statements included in Item 18.|
|(c)||In determining an appropriate methodology to estimate future interest payments, the Company has applied either the applicable fixed rate or currently applicable variable rate where appropriate. These interest rates are subject to change and amounts actually due may be higher or lower than noted in the table above.|
For information concerning the principal trends and uncertainties affecting the Company’s results of operations and financial condition, see “Item 3. Key Information—Risk Factors,” “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Business Overview,” “—Results of Operations,” “—Liquidity and Capital Resources” and “Item 4. Information on the Company—Strategy—Responding to Market Challenges” above.
The Company uses certain off-balance sheet arrangements in the ordinary course of business, including financial guarantees. Details of these arrangements that have or are reasonably likely to have a current or future material effect on the Company’s financial condition, results of operations, liquidity or capital resources are discussed below.
Guarantees. Ryanair Holdings has provided an aggregate of approximately €5,432m (as at March 31, 2021) in letters of guarantee to secure obligations of certain of its subsidiaries in respect of loans, capital market transactions and bank advances, including those relating to aircraft financing and related hedging transactions. This amount excludes guarantees given in relation to the 2014 Boeing Contract under which there was a total of 210 firm aircraft under order as at March 31, 2021 amounting to approximately U.S. $9.6bn at the standard list price of US$102.5m (net of basic credits and reflective of price escalation over the originally scheduled delivery timeframe).
Inflation did not have a significant effect on the Company’s results of operations and financial condition during the three fiscal years ended March 31, 2021.
Ryanair Holdings was established in 1996 as a holding company for Ryanair. The management of Ryanair Holdings and Ryanair are integrated, with the two companies having the same Directors and Executive Officers.
The following table sets forth certain information concerning the Directors of Ryanair Holdings and Ryanair as of July 23, 2021:
Stan McCarthy (b)(c)
Chairman & Director
Louise Phelan (b)(c)
Senior Independent Director
Róisín Brennan (a)(d)
Michael Cawley (b)(d)
Emer Daly (a)
Howard Millar (b)(c)
Dick Milliken (a)
Mike O’Brien (e)
Michael O’Leary (b)
Director & Group CEO
Julie O’Neill (d)
(a) Audit Committee.
(d) Remuneration Committee.
(b) Executive Committee.
(e) Safety & Security Committee.
(c) Nomination Committee.
Stan McCarthy was appointed as a Director of Ryanair in May 2017, Deputy Chairman in April 2019 and Chairman in June 2020. Mr. McCarthy was Chief Executive of Kerry Group plc from January 2008 until September 2017. Mr. McCarthy joined Kerry Group in 1976 and worked in a number of finance roles before being appointed as Vice President of Sales and Marketing in the USA in 1991, as President of Kerry North America in 1996 and as a Director of Kerry Group in 1999. Mr. McCarthy is an investor, advisor and Board member of a number of privately-owned companies in diverse industries. An active philanthropist in both Ireland and the US, he donates to various organizations in health, education and poverty reduction. He has dual Irish and U.S. citizenship.
Louise Phelan has served as a Director since December 2012 and was appointed Senior Independent Director (SID) in June 2020. Ms. Phelan is currently Group CEO of the Phelan Energy Group. Prior to that, Ms. Phelan was Vice President of PayPal, leading a global team in Continental Europe, Middle East and Africa, having previously spent 16 years with General Electric in various leadership roles. She is an Irish citizen.
Róisín Brennan has served as a Director since May 2018. Ms. Brennan is a former Chief Executive of IBI Corporate Finance Ltd where she had extensive experience advising public companies in Ireland. She is currently a Non-Executive Director of Hibernia REIT plc, Musgrave Group plc, Glanbia plc and Dell Bank International DAC having previously been a Non-Executive Director of DCC plc from 2005 until 2016. She is an Irish Citizen.
Michael Cawley has served as a Director since September 2014. Mr. Cawley previously worked with Ryanair for 17 years as Ryanair’s Deputy CEO and Chief Operating Officer until he retired in March 2014. Mr. Cawley’s other Non-Executive Directorships include Flutter Entertainment plc, Kingspan Group plc and Hostelworld Group plc. He is an Irish citizen.
Emer Daly has served as a Director of Ryanair since December 2017. Ms. Daly is currently Board Chairman at RSA Insurance Ireland DAC and a Non-Executive Director of Chetwood Financial Limited and RGA International Reinsurance
Company DAC. Ms. Daly previously served as a Non-Executive Director of Permanent TSB Group plc and as a Director of Payzone plc. Ms. Daly also held senior roles with PwC and AXA Insurance for over 20 years. She is an Irish citizen.
Howard Millar was appointed as a Director of Ryanair in August 2015. Mr. Millar had served as Ryanair’s Deputy CEO and Chief Financial Officer from 2003 to December 2014 having previously been Director of Finance from 1993 and Financial Controller in 1992. Mr. Millar currently serves as CEO of Sirius Aviation Capital Holdings Ltd. Mr. Millar is a member of Irelandia Aviation’s advisory board and a Non-Executive Director of Viva Latinamerica the holding company for the airlines Viva Colombia and Viva Peru. He is an Irish citizen.
R.A. (Dick) Milliken has served as a Director since July 2013 having previously been Chief Financial Officer of Almac Group and former Chief Executive of Lamont plc. He is a former council member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland. Mr. Milliken is Chairman of Lotus Group and a Director of a number of private companies. He is a British citizen.
Mike O’Brien was appointed as a Director of Ryanair in May 2016. Mr. O’Brien was Head of Flight Operations Inspectorate with the Maltese Civil Aviation Authority until he retired in 2016, having previously spent 10 years as the Head of Operating Standards with the Irish Aviation Authority until 2001. Mr. O’Brien served 4 years as the Chief Pilot and Flight Operations Manager of Ryanair from 1987 to 1991. He is an Irish citizen.