By James Warrington, cityam.com
Ryanair (RYA) has cut its winter capacity from 60 per cent to 40 per cent of last year’s levels as it contends with further flight restrictions across Europe.
The budget airline said air travel to and from much of central Europe, the UK, Ireland, Austria, Belgium and Portugal had been “heavily curtailed” due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As a result, Ryanair said it would further reduce its capacity between November and March.
The no-frills airline said it expected to maintain up to 65 per cent of its winter route network, though the frequency of flights would be reduced.
Due to the new measures and target load levels of 70 per cent, Ryanair predicted that full year passenger numbers to fall to 38m, though it warned this could drop further if further restrictions were imposed.
The company said it will shutter its bases in Cork, Shannon and Toulouse over the winter and will make significant base aircraft cuts in Belgium, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Vienna.
“While we deeply regret these winter schedule cuts, they have been forced upon us by government mismanagement of EU air travel,” said Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary.
“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.”
The airline warned it was “inevitable” that it would implement more unpaid leave and job sharing over the winter, but said these measures were preferable to mass job losses.
It also said it expected further redundancies at cabin crew bases where it had still not secured an agreement on working time and pay cuts.