Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline, today briefed the markets that it now expects the newly announced Covid lockdowns in Ireland, the UK, and a small number of other EU countries this week, will materially reduce its flight schedules and traffic forecast through January, February and March.
Ryanair now expects its Jan traffic to fall to under 1.25m passengers, and that new Covid restrictions could also reduce Feb and Mar traffic to as little as 500,000 passengers each month. In response, Ryanair will significantly cut its flight schedules from Thursday 21 January, which will result in few, if any, flights being operated to/from Ireland or the UK from the end of January until such time as these travel restrictions are removed.
All customers affected by these further flight cancellations and further travel restrictions will receive emails advising them of their entitlements of free moves and/or refunds later today. These new cutbacks will reduce full year traffic forecast from currently “below 35m” to between 26m to 30m passengers.
Ryanair does not expect these flight cuts and further traffic reductions will materially affect its net loss for the year to 31 March 2021 since many of these flights would have been loss making.
In a statement, a Spokesperson for Ryanair said, "Ireland’s Covid-19 travel restrictions are already the most stringent in Europe, and so these new flight restrictions are inexplicable and ineffective when Ireland continues to operate an open border between the Republic and the North of Ireland. Since Ireland’s third lockdown will not get rid of the Covid virus, there is an onus on the Irish Government to accelerate the rollout of vaccines, and the fact that the Danish Government, with a similar 5m population, has already vaccinated 10 times more citizens than Ireland shows that emergency action is needed to speed Covid vaccinations in Ireland."