Published on Thursday, October 15, 2020

Ryanair cuts capacity again amid weak winter bookings

Ryanair will operate just 40% of its winter schedule as it reported a slump in bookings for the final two months of the year.

The budget carrier said bookings weakened 'slightly' in October, but 'materially' in November and December.

It had previously intended to operate 60% of its usual winter capacity.

Ryanir said it needs to sustain a 70% load factor for flights to operate close to break even. 

In addition to the cuts the airline said it will close its bases in Cork, Shannon and Toulouse over the winter and 'significantly' reduce its base aircraft in Belgium, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Vienna.

Group Chief Executive Michael O'Leary said the scaled down schedules were forced on the airline by 'Government mismanagement of EU air travel'.

"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% load factor, which allows us operate as close to breakeven as possible and minimise cash burn," he said.

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

O'Leary flagged a 'small number' of redundancies at the affected cabin crew bases where working time and pay cut agreements have not been reached.

He urged EU Governments to 'immediately and fully' adopt the EU Commission's Traffic Light System, which allows for air travel between EU states where Covid cases are less than 50 per 100,000 population.

By Steve Jones, Contributing Editor (UK)

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