Ryanair shares surge on reduced cash burn, optimistic outlook

As thousands of flights are cancelled, global airlines are seeking ways to survive.

Ryanair investors on Monday (May 18) gave their backing to the airline's handling of the crisis.

Shares surged over 13% on strong cost control and over a $1 billion profit in the past financial year.

It came as Ryanair cut its annual passenger target by another 20%.

Europe's largest low cost carrier also said it had no idea how much it would earn this year.

As part of a cost-cutting drive that will shed at least 3,250 jobs, Ryanair is also looking at pulling out of some airports across Europe.

CEO Michael O'Leary said he expects to fly fewer than 80 million passengers in the coming year, down from an original target of 154 million:

" We're focused now on getting the business back and getting Europe flying again, we believe that will be possible, subject to the governments lifting restrictions by about the first of July, we expect to operate about 40 percent of our normal July schedule during that month. We still need the waiving of some of the government movement restrictions and we're also pushing back against the some of the more absurd, ineffective and unpoliceable restrictions, such as 14-day isolation periods.''

One aviation casualty of the crisis appeared to have some good news Monday.

Virgin Australia's administrators have reportedly short-listed potential buyers.

They're expected to receive as many as eight non-binding offers from potential buyers before a deadline Friday (May 22).

The company entered voluntary administration last month owing creditors nearly $4.5 billion.

Budget airline Norwegian Air, which was on the brink of collapse, also looks likely to live on in a very slimmed-down form.

It's completed a cut-price share sale and won bondholders' backing for a refinancing.

Existing shareholders will see their stakes massively diluted by the rescue.

The airline's shares initially plunged 51% on Monday before recovering to trade down 22% on the day.