News: Ryanair cuts winter capacity as demand stalls

Ryanair will cut capacity to 40 per cent of that offered last year over the winter as demand continues to stall.

The low-cost carrier had hoped to offer 60 per cent of its planned flight from November to March, but has been forced to make cuts as it releases a revised winter schedule,

Ryanair said it expects to maintain up to 65 per cent of its winter route network, but with reduced frequencies.

In addition to the winter closure of bases in Cork, Shannon, and Toulouse, the carrier has announced significant base aircraft cuts in Belgium, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Vienna.

Government restrictions on travel were largely to blame, a statement added.

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Ryanair now expects full year 2021 traffic to fall to approximately 38 million guests, although this guidance could be further revised downwards.

Ryanair group chief executive, Michael O’Leary, said: “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 per cent load factor, which allows us operate as close to breakeven as possible and minimise cash burn.

“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.”

He added: “It is inevitable, given the scale of these cutbacks, that we will be implementing more unpaid leave, and job sharing this winter in those bases where we have agreed reduced working time and pay, but this is a better short term outcome than mass job losses.

“There will regrettably be more redundancies at those small number of cabin crew bases, where we have still not secured agreement on working time and pay cuts, which is the only alternative.

“We continue to actively manage our cost base to be prepared for the inevitable rebound and recovery of short haul air travel in Europe once an effective Covid-19 vaccine is developed.”

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