Ryanair (RYA.I) will reduce its flight capacity by a further 20 per cent during September and October after a reimposition of some travel restrictions led to a notable weakness in forward bookings over the last 10 days, the Irish airline said on Monday.
Ryanair, which last month cut its passenger target to 60 million for the financial year to March 2021, from the 80 million it had forecast in May, said a recent upsurge of COVID-19 cases in some European countries had particularly impacted business bookings.Ryanair shares, which had rallied in recent sessions to their highest since early June, fell 4.4 per cent to 11.22 euros by 1220 GMT.
The airline said cuts will be heavily focused on France, Spain Ireland and Sweden, and would mostly involve frequency reductions rather than route closures. It had increased flights to 60 per cent of its normal schedule this month after resuming services in July.Europe’s biggest budget airline said last month it expected to run around 70 per cent of last year’s schedule between October and March.Increased travel restrictions have hit air traffic to Spain and France in recent weeks, while Ireland only allows unencumbered travel to 10 European countries, a policy Ryanair criticised again as “uniquely restrictive” on Monday.
Ryanair said impacted passengers will be advised of their options.
Britain’s decision to reimpose coronavirus quarantines on France and the Netherlands has sparked dismay among airlines and airports struggling to overcome the industry’s worst crisis.
British holidaymakers flocked home early after their government removed France, the Netherlands, Malta, Monaco and two Caribbean territories from a list of unrestricted destinations, with effect from 0300 GMT on Saturday.Shares in British Airways parent IAG (ICAG.L) fell 5.7 per cent while Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA) lost 5.6 per cent and Ryanair (RYA.I) 5.2 per cent.
The UK move came a day after airlines lowered their European outlook, with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicting a 60 per cent decline in 2020 passenger numbers.