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Ryanair to Cut Winter Capacity to 40 Percent Versus 2019, Will Close Cork, Shannon & Toulouse Bases

The airline will reduce winter 2020/21 capacity from 60 to 40 percent compared to last year and will close their Cork, Shannon and Toulouse bases as FY traffic guidance is reduced downward to 38 million.

Ryanair Boeing 737 NG Empennage - Courtesy Ryanair

On Thursday (October 15, 2020), Ryanair announced that they will further reduce their year-over-year capacity from 60 percent to 40 percent for winter 2020/21. The carrier will also close their Cork, Shannon and Toulouse bases for the winter season as FY traffic guidance has been reduced to 38 million. The revised schedule is largely attributable to increasing flight restrictions by EU governments for travel to and from much of Central Europe, the UK, Ireland, Austria, Belgium and Portugal. The restrictions have resulted in a slight weakening in forward bookings in October and a materially significant weakening in for November and December. Ryanair plans to operate with a 70 percent load factor for the winter period which runs from November 2020 through March 2021 and plans on maintaining 65 percent of their route network, although with reduced frequencies.

In addition to the previously mentioned base closures, the airline will also make significant base aircraft cuts in Belgium, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Vienna. In Thursday’s announcement, Ryanair’s Group CEO, Michael O’Leary, said,

“We have continued to flex our capacity in Sept & Oct to reflect both market conditions and changing Government restrictions, with the objective of sustaining a 70% load factor, which allows us operate as close to breakeven as possible and minimize cash burn. While the Covid situation remains fluid and hard to predict, we must now cut our full year traffic forecast to 38m guests.

“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 minimizing job losses. 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.

“In the meantime, we urge all EU Governments to immediately, and fully, adopt the EU Commission’s Traffic Light System, which allows for safe air travel between EU states on a regional basis to continue (without defective travel restrictions) for those countries and regions of Europe, who are able to demonstrate that their Covid case rates are less than 50 per 100,000 population.”

Ryanair Holdings, plc is Europe’s largest airline conglomerate and the parent company of Buzz, Lauda, Malta Air, and Ryanair DAC. The airline usually carries over 154 million passengers annually with over 2,500 daily departures. Ryanair typically serves over 200 destinations in 40 countries with a fleet of 460 Boeing 737 Family aircraft and 20 Airbus A320s. Currently, the low-cost carrier has an additional 321 Boeing 737s on order and the Ryanair Group expects annual traffic to reach 200 million customers by FY 2024. Ryanair has maintained a stellar safety record for over 34 years and prides itself on being “Europe’s greenest cleanest airline group,” promising customers a reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 50%, versus the “Big 4 EU major airlines.”

Source: Ryanair


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