Dublin-based ULCC Ryanair has announced plans to cut capacity for September and October by as much as 20 per cent, as major European nations reintroduce restrictions.
“These capacity cuts and frequency reductions for the months of September and October are necessary given the recent weakness in forward bookings due to COVID restrictions in a number of EU countries,” Ryanair states.
Citing the impact of “continuing uncertainty over recent COVID case rates in some EU countries”, the airline insists the cuts will be achieved through frequency reductions, rather than route closures.
The airline has previously announced plans to haul the Irish and British governments before respective national courts, after both countries reintroduced travel restrictions amid spikes in COVID infections across the continent.
Aside from restrictions themselves, weakened demand for travel into heavy-hit areas like Sweden and Spain has played into the decision, with Ryanair reaffirming the reductions will be “heavily focused” on these areas.
Pushing back against restrictions – including what it terms a “uniquely restrictive green list” applying to travellers arriving in Ireland – the company adds that effective management of the crisis could be better achieved through “proper testing at airports, and effective tracing is the only realistic and proportionate method of supervising safe intra-EU air travel while effectively limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus”.
While Ryanair had managed to reinstate just 30 per cent of year-on-year passenger count across its network for last month, the carrier has said it hopes to operate at 60 per cent of August 2019 levels.