GKN owner Melrose reports recovery in car and jet parts while Ryanair passenger numbers are up 50% on August 2020
A revival in air travel has prompted signs of recovery at aerospace manufacturers and airlines, with the UK engineering group Melrose swinging to a profit and Ryanair summer passenger numbers exceeding expectations.
Melrose, the owner of GKN, reported a £223m first-half profit and said there was recovery across its car and jet parts businesses, with the return of short-haul air travel boosting aerospace.
Melrose’s chairman, Justin Dowley, said: “We are continuing to see recovery in all our businesses with trading ahead of expectations. Encouragingly, our aerospace business is now weighted towards the expected narrow-body recovery.”
It said its automotive divisions were poised for strong growth, and that the group would pay a dividend. The group, which is restructuring after a hostile takeover of GKN in 2018, remains committed to closing the GKN automotive factory in Erdington, Birmingham, where a strike ballot was passed on Wednesday in the fight to save more than 500 skilled jobs.
Ryanair, meanwhile, said it flew 11.1 million passengers in August, ahead of the budget airline’s target of 10.5 million. The numbers are more than 50% greater than in August 2020, but still about 25% below the number of passengers carried in the same month in 2019.
Ryanair’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, said said on Tuesday that the airline’s capacity should return to pre-pandemic levels in October, although with more empty seats. He said the “dramatic recovery in traffic and volumes” meant passenger numbers could exceed pre-Covid numbers in 2022, barring new variants of he virus affecting international travel.
Wizz Air also reported on Thursday significant growth last month, with passenger numbers of just under 3.6 million, 50% higher than a year ago and 20% more than it carried in July.
Jet2 gave a more sombre update at its annual meeting with “slower momentum” for winter bookings, but said there were encouraging signs for 2022.
Philip Meeson, its executive chairman, said: “Unsurprisingly, given the continuing short-term uncertainty resulting from the UK government’s three-weekly review of its traffic-light system, customers are booking significantly closer to departure for summer 21. Despite the limited booking visibility, pleasingly, we have generated positive financial contribution from the flying to date.”
He said the airline and holiday firm was optimistic from forward bookings that summer 2022 would be “a considerable improvement” on this and last summer.