Ireland’s Ryanair has received £600 million from the UK’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF).
This comes despite chief executive Michael O’Leary being heavily critical of state aid provided to other airlines across Europe, including the Lufthansa Group, Air France-KLM, Alitalia and more, calling it “unlawful state aid”.
Speaking to SKY News at the end of April, O’Leary took on Lufthansa and Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson.
O’Leary called the Lufthansa Group a “crack cocaine junkie” after the company asked for up to €10 billion of state aid. He questioned the need for state aid saying, “Why Lufthansa would need more state aid for, as airlines ‘do not have many other costs at the moment’, because aircraft are grounded.”
O’Leary went on to comment about British airline Virgin Atlantic seeking state aid. He commented that it was“Branson’s second go at trying to fleece the British taxpayer”, which he tried with Flybe.
“Frankly, if he’s worried about Virgin, he should write the check himself,” O’Leary continued, “it is not like he is short of money.”
Ryanair is eligible for the UK’s CCFF as funding is available to companies that make a material contribution to the UK economy. This includes companies with foreign-incorporated parents, companies that have significant employment in the UK, and companies that generate significant revenue or else serve a large number of customers in the UK.
The £600 million loan will help support Ryanair’s cash balance. On 18 May, Ryanair indicated that it had a current cash balance of €4.1 billion on top of posting a full-year profit.
Ryanair has reported a post-tax profit of €1 billion for the year ending 31 March. However, it said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic it was unable to provide a forecast for the coming year.
The airline expects to operate less than 1 per cent of its regularly scheduled flights in June with some flights returning this July. Although, that may change depending on the situation in various countries.
In other airline news:
- Delta Air Lines will resume operations to several key destinations in June. The Atlanta-based carrier is adding approximately 100 more daily flights across the continents. Furthermore, there are plans to restart trips to China.
- Following the conversion of two A350s for cargo operations, Finnair has gone ahead and turned two of its smaller A330s into cargo shifters as well. The two aircraft were modified in less than two days, removing passenger seats and installing cargo nets to transport lighter loads in the cabin.
- Qatar Airways has revealed that cabin crew will be required to wear full-body personal protective equipment (PPE). Passengers will also be required to wear face coverings onboard from 25 May.
- Icelandair joined the ranks of commercial airlines beginning to move cargo with passenger planes. To make this change of operations as successful as possible, Icelandair has undertaken a swift conversion of the cabin space, removing passenger seats to make way for boxes.
- India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation announced it is extending the ban on domestic and international flights until 11:59pm on 31 May.