The Irish airline company announced on Monday a reduction in its activity over the next two months. The low-cost airline is reporting a drop in bookings due to a resurgence of covid-19 cases in Europe.
Ryanair, which until now had planned to operate at 70% of its capacity in September, announced in a press release published on Monday that it had no choice but to reduce the number of flights scheduled for September and October, particularly to France and Spain. These two countries are indeed covered by the quarantine imposed by the British government.
The company explains that these reductions will mainly involve a reduction in flight frequencies rather than service stops. "This reduction in capacity and flight frequency for the months of September and October is inevitable given the recent low level of bookings in the wake of the restrictions in place in certain European countries," explains a Ryanair spokesman. Passengers affected by the cancellation of their flights in September have been warned and those far fewer who had booked for October will be notified later in the day.
In addition to Spain and France, this reduction in the number of flights will mainly concern Sweden and Ireland, which imposes around 40 restrictions on passengers from the United Kingdom in particular. Ryanair is also asking the Irish government to amend its list of countries for which it imposes a quarantine, in order to exclude Germany in particular, where there are fewer cases than in Ireland.
This announcement by the low-cost airline confirms that the hoped-for resumption of air traffic, after months of a standstill with the lockdown, is more difficult than expected given that the virus is still circulating very actively in Europe. The British airline sector, an unavoidable market for Ryanair, did not hide its concern after the United Kingdom's decision to impose a quarantine on France, shortly after having taken the same decision against Spain, a favourite summer destination for the British.
In order to cope with the shock of the pandemic and a demand that is expected to be depressed for a while, Ryanair has already announced a restructuring plan that involves cutting 3,000 jobs, i.e. 15% of its workforce. The pandemic led to a net loss of 185 million euros between April and June, the first quarter of its postponed financial year. So far, the company is expecting a smaller loss in the second quarter (July to September) thanks to the recovery in traffic.
On Friday, following confirmation by the British government that passengers from France would be subject to a fourteen-odd penalty, the IAG airline group, the parent company of British Airways, deplored a "blow" that "will not fail to hit the already struggling airline sector".
For its part, the EasyJet airline confirmed on Monday the closure of three bases in the United Kingdom, those of Stansted near London, Southend in the east of England and Newcastle in Scotland, from 31 August. EasyJet, which is carrying out a restructuring plan, is planning a total of up to 4,500 job cuts.