LONDON – Ryanair (FR) briefed the markets today, stating it now expects the newly announced COVID-19-related lockdowns in Ireland, the UK, and a small number of other EU countries will materially reduce its flight schedules and traffic forecast through January, February and March.

The company now expects its January traffic to fall under 1.25 million passengers, adding that the new travel restrictions could also reduce February and March traffic to as little as 500,000 passengers each month.

In response, FR will significantly cut its flight schedules from January 21, 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 the travel restrictions are removed.

Ryanair Boeing 737-8AS reg. 9H-QDE pushing back at Naples International Airport (NAP). Photo: Marco Macca – @aviator_ita

Cutting Full Year Traffic Forecast

These new cutbacks will reduce full year (FY March ’21) traffic forecast from the currently “below 35 million’ to between 26 and 30 million passengers.

The company does not expect these flight cuts and further traffic reductions will materially affect its net loss for the year to March 31, 2021, since many of these flights would have been loss-making.

Ryanair Boeing 737-8AS reg. 9H-QAK taxiing to take off at Naples International Airport (NAP). Photo: Marco Macca – @aviator_ita

Statement from Ryanair

A spokesperson for FR said, “The WHO have previously confirmed that Governments should do everything possible to avoid brutal lockdowns, because lockdowns ‘do not get rid of the virus’.”

“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.”

“NPHET (Ireland’s Public Health Team), which we believe has mismanaged many aspects of Ireland’s Covid response (face masks, test & trace, international travel, care homes and meat factories), should now release a daily report of the number of vaccines administered in Ireland, and explain why they continue to run behind the vaccination rates of other similar sized EU countries.”

“Vaccinations rather than lockdowns is the way out of this Covid-19 crisis, and the sooner NPHET takes action to accelerate Ireland’s vaccine rollout speed, the better.”

Featured image: Ryanair Boeing 737-8AS on final at Naples International Airport (NAP). Photo: Marco Macca – @aviator_ita