Coronavirus: Ryanair accuses governments of “mismanagement” as it reduces winter capacity | Economic news

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Ryanair reduced its winter flight capacity from 60% to 40% of the level of the previous year, blaming the “mismanagement” of air travel by EU governments.

The Dublin-based carrier said increasing flight restrictions had resulted in a “significant reduction” in travel to a number of countries, leading to a drop in bookings “slightly” in October and “materially” in November and December.

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Its schedule from November to March will now allow it to operate 65% of its usual winter network, at reduced frequencies.

The airline said it now expects traffic for the entire year to fall to 38 million, although this could be revised down further if EU governments “continue to mismanage traffic. air travel and impose more lockdowns this winter ”.

That compares to just under $ 149 million in the year at the end of March 2020. Shares are down 3%.

Ryanair Managing Director Michael O’Leary said: “While we deeply regret these winter schedule reductions, they were forced on us by the government’s mismanagement of EU air transport. ”

The carrier said travel to and from central Europe, the UK, Ireland, Austria, Belgium and Portugal has been affected by the latest restrictions.

It will close its bases in Cork, Shannon and Toulouse during the five-month winter period, while operations will be reduced at bases in Belgium, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Vienna.

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Mr O’Leary said: “It is inevitable, given the magnitude of these cuts, that we will be implementing more unpaid leave and work sharing this winter at the bases where we have agreed to reduce. working time and wages, but that’s a better short-term outcome than massive job losses.

“There will unfortunately be more layoffs in these small numbers of cabin crew bases, where we still haven’t got an agreement on working hours and pay cuts, which is the only alternative.

“We continue to actively manage our cost base to be prepared for the inevitable rebound and resumption of short-haul air travel in Europe once an effective vaccine against COVID-19 is developed.

The airline’s chief executive has urged EU governments to adopt a “traffic light system” put in place by the European Commission to allow safe air travel between countries with low case rates.

Ryanair said earlier this year it is expected to cut up to 3,000 jobs as a result of COVID-19, but announced in July that this number would be drastically reduced as most pilots and cabin crew had agreed to cut wages.

Aviation has been one of the industries hardest hit by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with Sky’s track of publicly announced job cuts showing more than 30,000 people lost.

In the UK, the government recently set up a working group to examine the use of testing to reduce quarantine times for travelers, although it has received a lukewarm reception from the industry, which has been calling for action for months.

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