Yesterday, Ryanair announced a further reduction on its winter schedule (November – March) taking capacity down from 60 percent to 40 percent of the rate last year.
The airline made a public announcement saying that air travel to/from much of Central Europe, the UK, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, and Portugal has been “heavily curtailed” because of increased flight restrictions imposed by EU governments due to the coronavirus (Covid-19).
In addition to Ryanair’s winter closure of bases in Cork, Shannon, and Toulouse, the airline also announced significant base aircraft cuts in Belgium, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and Vienna. Ryanair aims to sustain a 70 percent load factor and expects to maintain up to 65 percent of its winter route network, but with reduced frequencies. Ryanair’s Group CEO Michael O’Leary offered this:
“While we deeply regret these winter schedule cuts they have been forced upon us by Government mismanagement of EU air travel. Our focus continues to be on maintaining as large a schedule as we can sensibly operate to keep our aircraft, our pilots and our cabin crew current and employed while minimizing job losses.”
The airline’s traffic forecast for the entire year has now been cut to 38 million passengers. Ryanair also says its forecast could be further revised downwards if EU governments continue to “mismanage air travel” and impose more lockdowns this winter.
The airline’s CEO went on to urge EU governments to immediately adopt the EU Commission’s Traffic Light System, for those European countries and regions of Europe, who are able to demonstrate that their Covid case rates are less than 50 per 100,000 population.