Ryanair has published its latest traffic forecast for the full year to March 31, 2021, and says that new lockdowns in the UK and Ireland could reduce February and March numbers “to as little as 500,000 passengers each month”.
Just a few months ago the low-cost carrier was expecting to carry around 38 million passengers this financial year, but this figure has now been significantly reduced to between 26 and 30 million.
This compares to traffic figures of over 150 million passengers for the Ryanair Group in 2019.
The latest lockdowns mean the carrier expects to carry just 1.25 million passengers during January, and Ryanair warned that “new Covid restrictions could also reduce February and March traffic to as little as 500,000 passengers each month”.
Schedules are set to be cut “significantly” from January 21, which the airline says will result “in few, if any, flights being operated to/from Ireland or the UK from the end of January until such time as these draconian travel restrictions are removed”.
The new follows confirmation from the Irish government that from January 9 all arrivals into Ireland from Great Britain will be required to provide a negative PCR test result on entry.
However Ryanair says that it does not expect the additional cuts to materially affect its net loss for the year to March 31, 2021, “since many of these flights would have been loss making”
This week low-cost carrier Easyjet outlined plans to reduce its schedules during the latest national lockdown, although it will continue to operate between key UK cities, as well as on a “small number of international routes”.
Commenting on the news, a Ryanair spokesperson 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.
“Since Ireland’s third lockdown will not get rid of the Covid virus, there is an onus on the Irish Government to accelerate the rollout of vaccines, and the fact that the Danish Government, with a similar five million population, has already vaccinated ten times more citizens than Ireland shows that emergency action is needed to speed Covid vaccinations in Ireland.”