Ryanair cuts Sept-Oct capacity by 20% on weak bookings

Ryanair cuts Sept-Oct capacity by 20% on weak bookings
Increased travel restrictions amid the COVID-19 crisis have hit air traffic to Spain and France in recent weeks. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 18 August 2020

Ryanair cuts Sept-Oct capacity by 20% on weak bookings

Ryanair cuts Sept-Oct capacity by 20% on weak bookings
  • Recent upsurge of COVID-19 cases in European countries impacted business reservations, says the airline

DUBLIN: Ryanair will reduce its flight capacity by a further 20 percent during September and October after a reimposition of some travel restrictions led to a notable weakness in forward bookings over the last 10 days, the Irish airline said on Monday.

Ryanair, which last month cut its passenger target to 60 million for the financial year to March 2021, from the 80 million it had forecast in May, said a recent upsurge of COVID-19 cases in some European countries had particularly impacted business bookings.

Ryanair shares, which had rallied in recent sessions to their highest since early June, fell 4.4 percent to €11.22.

The airline said cuts will be heavily focused on France, Spain Ireland and Sweden, and would mostly involve frequency reductions rather than route closures. It had increased flights to 60 percent of its normal schedule this month after resuming services in July.

Europe’s biggest budget airline said last month it expected to run around 70 percent of last year’s schedule between October and March.

Increased travel restrictions have hit air traffic to Spain and France in recent weeks, while Ireland only allows unencumbered travel to 10 European countries, a policy Ryanair criticized again as “uniquely restrictive” on Monday.

Ryanair said impacted passengers will be advised of their options. 

Separately, British airline easyJet confirmed on Monday it would close three of its bases in the United Kingdom resulting in the loss of up to 670 jobs.

EasyJet said in May that it would need to axe 4,500 jobs across Europe to prepare for a smaller travel market due to the pandemic, and is starting that contraction by closing bases at London Stansted, London Southend and Newcastle airports.

The outlook for airlines darkened last week after France joined Spain on Britain’s quarantine list, deterring travel to the two most popular destinations for Britons and dashing hopes for an August recovery.

Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet, blamed “the unprecedented impact of the pandemic and related travel restrictions” for the base closures and said in a statement that Britain’s quarantine measures were affecting demand.

Up to 670 pilots and crew work at the three bases and many of those will lose their jobs. They will make up some of the 1,900 jobs in Britain that easyJet flagged in May would go as part of the 4,500 European total.