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Coronavirus crash: Ryanair share price slumps as outbreak impacts flights

Over the last six trading sessions, the low-cost airline has seen its stock lose close to a quarter of its value, with the company forced to cancel flights as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Ryanair has seen its shares tumble by close to 25% over the last six days, with the low-cost airline forced to cancel up to a quarter of Italian short haul flights between 17 March to 8 April due to the coronavirus (Covid-19).

‘Over the past week, Ryanair has seen a significant drop in bookings over that late March/early April period, in response to the Covid-19 Virus. There has also been a significant step up in passenger no-shows on flights, particularly from and within Italy,’ the company said in a statement on Monday.

Ryanair closed at €11.52 a share on Monday.

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‘While we are heavily booked over the next two weeks, there has been a notable drop in forward bookings towards the end of March, into early April,’ Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said.

‘It makes sense to selectively prune our schedule to and from those airports where travel has been most affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.’

‘This is a time for calm. We will make sensible cuts to our schedules over the comings weeks to reflect weaker bookings and changing travel patterns,’ he added.

Full-year guidance remains on track, says Ryanair

Despite the turmoil created by the Covid-19 outbreak, Ryanair does not expect flight cancellations to have a material impact on its full-year 2020 earnings.

However, the low-cost airline admitted that it was ‘far too early’ to speculate what impact the outbreak will have on its full-year 2021 earnings guidance.

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‘Ryanair remains one of the strongest airlines in the industry with €4bn in cash on its balance sheet, industry leading unit costs, 90% of the fleet is owned, and is mainly debt free,’ Ryanair said.

‘We expect that this Covid-19 Virus will result in further EU airline failures over the coming weeks.’

Ryanair will unveil its full-year 2020 results on 18 March.

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