world of aviation logo

Winter passenger projections a ‘write-off’: Ryanair

written by Hannah Dowling | September 10, 2020

Ryanair has slashed its annual passenger target by a further 10 million as travel restrictions persist, and a new wave of COVID-19 cases sweeps through Europe.

The airline group’s chief executive Michael O’Leary said that the upcoming European winter travel season will essentially be “a write-off”, as the airline cut its annual passenger target to just 50 million.

Ryanair previously forecast its annual passenger load to be 80 million in May, before culling its prediction down to 60 million in July.

O’Leary cautioned these forecasts could drop even further, depending on if the virus continues to spread around the continent, and how countries decide to restrict their borders.

The airline chief executive said he expects to operate at about 5 million passengers per month throughout the winter, and noted that pricing is set to be “aggressively down”, in order to encourage demand.

Further, he said the airline may have to shrink some of its bases, with some set to close altogether, as he criticised the quarantine practices of certain countries.

“We’re probably looking at closing more bases and withdrawing more capacity in those countries where you’re operating completely defective and non-scientific quarantines,” O’Leary added – specifically calling out Britain, Ireland, Spain and Portugal.


It has been well-reported that low-cost carriers are faring far better through the ongoing COVID-19 aviation crisis than their larger, more traditional counterparts.

O’Leary, who last week bolstered Ryanair’s already strong balance sheet with a €400 million share issue, remains confident the Irish no-frills carrier can come out on top.

“Our rivals have withdrawn huge amounts of capacity,” he said. “The competitive landscape if anything is getting easier.”


Each day, our subscribers are more informed with the right information.

SIGN UP to the Australian Aviation magazine for high-quality news and features for just $99.95 per year