Ryanair to cut flight capacity by 20% for September, October as bookings fall

Cuts to focus on countries with rising Covid-19 rates including Spain, France, Sweden

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock

 

Ryanair said it would cut its flight capacity by 20 per cent for September and October as the resurgence of Covid-19 cases in some EU countries weakened bookings.

The airline has also called for the Government to expand its “green list” of countries that do not require quarantine for visitors.

The airline said its bookings had noticeably fallen in the past 10 days. Routes will see frequency reductions rather than closures, with cuts focused on countries with increased Covid-19 rates where travel restrictions have tightened such as Spain, France and Sweden. Routes to Ireland are also likely to be cut, with Ryanair citing the current restrictive green list.

The company said the capacity cuts were “unavoidable”, and passengers affected in September had already been contacted by email, with October passengers due to be contacted later on Monday.

“Over the past two weeks as a number of EU countries have raised travel restrictions, forward bookings especially for business travel into September and October have been negatively affected, and it makes sense to reduce frequencies so that we tailor our capacity to demand over the next two months,” a spokesperson for the company said.

The airline has called on the Government to add EU countries with lower or similar Covid case rates to Ireland’s green list to allow business and family travel to resume in September. That would see Germany, the UK, Austria, Portugal and Poland added. Ireland’s 14-day Covid incidence rate is currently at 22.1, ahead of the countries Ryanair has named.

“We again call on the Irish Government to amend its green list of travel countries to include those EU countries with lower or similar 14-day Covid case rates, most notably Germany whose Covid case rate is 25 per cent lower than Ireland, and which will allow for some resumption of normal business and economic travel in September and October once the schools reopen,” the airline said, saying the “isolationist” green list had failed to prevent the recent rise in Covid-19 case rates.

“Proper testing at airports, and effective tracing (as is being conducted in Germany and Italy) is the only realistic and proportionate method of supervising safe intra-EU travel while effectively limiting the spread of the Covid-19 virus,” Ryanair said.

The airline has been a vocal critic of the Government’s policy on overseas travel and visitors to the country. It is challenging the State’s international travel restrictions in the High Court, claiming they are unlawful, amount to a disproportionate interference of individual’s rights and are detrimental to its business. A hearing is set to take place in September.