The low cost airline said on Monday that its next 12 months “will be a very difficult year.” “It is impossible to predict how long the Covid-19 pandemic will persist, and a second wave of Covid-19 cases across Europe in late fall (when the annual flu season begins) is our biggest fear right now, ”Ryanair said in a statement.
The sector has been significantly affected by the pandemic, with Ryanair’s entire fleet shutting down for around four months as countries impose strict lockdown measures to contain the spread of the virus. Since then, European economies have reopened and airlines have returned to the skies, but social distancing measures and quarantine policies have limited some operations.
The Irish firm said it expects a 60% drop in traffic in 2020/2021, but uncertainty around the pandemic does not allow it to provide further guidance for the year.
Spain back on the quarantine list
The British government surprised many tourists over the weekend by announcing that Spain would be removed from the list of countries exempt from quarantine upon their return to England. A growing number of cases in some parts of Spain triggered the decision.
However, Ryanair said it did not plan to cut flights to Spain from the UK. The company’s chief financial officer, Neil Sorahan, told Reuters the government’s move was “regrettable” and that “We need to be flexible enough to deal with them (localized epidemics) as they arise over the coming weeks and months.”
Ryanair has said it expects to emerge from the economic crisis ahead of its competitors because of a “much lower cost base”.
The airline also said that in its first quarter it cut costs by 85%, which included negotiating pay cuts with staff. Ryanair is also concerned that negotiators from the EU and the UK will not reach a Brexit trade deal by the end of the year.
“The challenge of Brexit, and in particular of a no-deal Brexit, remains high. We hope, before the end of the transition period in December, that the UK and Europe will conclude a trade agreement on air travel that will allow free movement. people and the deregulated airline market between the UK and Ireland to continue, ”Ryanair said.