Ryanair posts record annual loss but says recovery has begun

DUBLIN, May 17 (Reuters) - Ryanair reported a record annual after-tax loss of 815 million euros ($989 million) on Monday after COVID-19 restrictions forced it to scrap over 80% of flights, but the Irish airline said there were signs the recovery had begun.

Europe’s largest discount airline flew 27.5 million passengers in its financial year to the end of March, down from 149 million the previous year in what it called “the most challenging in Ryanair’s 35-year history.”

The airline reiterated its forecast that passenger numbers for the current fiscal year would be towards the lower end of a 80 million to 120 million passenger range. It expects to fly just 5 million to 6 million passengers in the April-June quarter.

$1 = 0.8244 euros Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Christian Schmollinger