Ryanair now expects to fly a 26-30 million passengers this year, down from “below 35 million” predicted just a few weeks ago.
The low-cost carrier had initially expected to fly more than 120 million customers this year, before the outbreak of Covid-19.
The latest cuts follow newly announced Covid-19 lockdowns in Ireland, the UK and a small number of other EU countries this week.
In the UK, a near total ban on travel is expected to be in place until at least mid-February.
The carrier said lockdowns would see it “materially reduce” its flight schedules until at least March – with major cuts expected from January 21st.
The cuts will result in few, if any, flights being operated to and from Ireland or the UK from the end of January until such time as the “draconian travel restrictions” are lifted, Ryanair said.
The airline, however, said it does not expect the cuts to affect its net loss for the year to March, since many of the planned flights would have been loss making.
Ryanair calls on the Irish and UK governments to accelerate the “slow pace” of vaccine rollouts.
A spokesperson for Ryanair said: “The World Health Organisation 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-19 virus, there is an onus on the Irish government to accelerate the rollout of vaccines.
“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-19 vaccinations in Ireland.”
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