Ryanair cuts winter flights again and closes three bases due to Covid travel restrictions

We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.

Ryanair, one of Europe’s largest airlines released its revised winter schedule yesterday after having to cut it once again. Like many airlines and travel companies, Ryanair has struggled since the coronavirus pandemic struck and causing thousands of flights and holidays to be cancelled. The UK government, and others in the EU have increased flight restrictions in response to a surge in coronavirus cases on the continent.

This has meant that air travel to and from much of Central Europe, the UK, Ireland, Austria, Belgium and Portugal have been heavily curtailed.

This has caused Ryanair’s forward bookings to weaken slightly in October, but materially in November and December.

In light of these weakened bookings, and Ryanair’s plan to operate with a 70 percent load factors, Ryanair has further reduced its winter schedule from November and March.

During these months, the airline will be taking its capacity down from 60 percent to 40 percent.

Ryanair expects to maintain up to 65 percent of its winter route network, but with reduced frequencies.

In addition to the winter closure of bases in Cork, Shannon, and Toulouse, Ryanair has announced significant base aircraft cuts in Belgium, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Vienna.

With this in mind, Ryanair now expects full year traffic to fall to approximately 38 million guests.

The airline said this guidance could be further revised downwards if EU governments continue to “mismanage air travel and impose more lockdowns this winter”.

Royal travel: Romantic ban Prince William and Kate must follow [INSIGHT]
UK holidays: Best cottage providers unveiled in new survey [UPDATE]
Holiday warning: Portugal, Spain, France & Germany new restrictions [ANALYSIS]

Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary has been extremely critical of the UK government’s quarantine policy in the past.

He has previously labelled it a “shambles” but has praised Italy and Germany for they test and travel systems.

Mr O’Leary said in a statement regarding the latest cut to capacity that the airline deeply regrets the move.

He said: “We have continued to flex our capacity in September and October to reflect both market conditions and changing government restrictions, with the objective of sustaining a 70 percent load factor, which allows us operate as close to breakeven as possible and minimise cash burn.

“While the Covid situation remains fluid and hard to predict, we must now cut our full year traffic forecast to 38 million guests.

“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 minimising job losses.

“It is inevitable, given the scale of these cutbacks, that we will be implementing more unpaid leave, and job sharing this winter in those bases where we have agreed reduced working time and pay, but this is a better short term outcome than mass job losses.

“There will regrettably be more redundancies at those small number of cabin crew bases, where we have still not secured agreement on working time and pay cuts, which is the only alternative.

“We continue to actively manage our cost base to be prepared for the inevitable rebound and recovery of short haul air travel in Europe once an effective Covid-19 vaccine is developed.

“In the meantime, we urge all EU governments to immediately, and fully, adopt the EU Commission’s Traffic Light System, which allows for safe air travel between EU states on a regional basis to continue (without defective travel restrictions) for those countries and regions of Europe, who are able to demonstrate that their Covid case rates are less than 50 per 100,000 population.”

The UK is expected to be part of the new ‘traffic light’ system until it leaves the EU on December 31.

Source: Read Full Article