Ryanair reported Thursday that due to increased restrictions imposed by EU governments, flights to and from much of Central Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Austria, Belgium and Portugal have been significantly reduced. In addition, the measures have caused early bookings to fall slightly in October, and significantly in November and December.
Considering the fall in reservations and Ryanair’s plan to operate with an occupancy rate of 70%, the airline has further reduced its winter operation (November-March), decreasing its capacity from 60% to 40% compared to the previous year. Ryanair expects to maintain up to 65% of its winter route network, but with reduced frequencies. For this reason, the company has announced significant cuts in the bases in Belgium, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Vienna, in addition to the closure during the winter season of the bases in Cork, Shannon and Toulouse.
“We continue to modify our capacity in September and October to adapt to market circumstances and the various restrictions imposed by governments, always with the aim of maintaining a load factor of 70% that allows us to operate as close as possible to the break-even point while minimizing negative cash flow. Although Covid’s situation remains uncertain and difficult to predict, we have to reduce our traffic forecast for the whole year to 38 million passengers”, said Michael O’Leary, Ryanair Group’s CEO.
“It is inevitable, given the scale of these cuts, that this winter we will implement more policies of unpaid vacations and shared working hours at those bases where we have agreed to a reduction in working hours and remuneration, a measure which we believe will be better in the short term rather than massive job losses. Unfortunately, there will be more layoffs at those small cabin crew bases, where we have not yet reached 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 flights in Europe, once an effective vaccine against Covid-19 is developed,” said O’Leary.