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Ryanair Cuts Flight Schedules and Full-Year Forecast Amid Bullish Response to Government Covid Strategy

Ryanair Cuts Flight Schedules and Full-Year Forecast Amid Bullish Response to Government Covid Strategy

Ryanair has announced that it expects its flight schedules to be severely impacted by the new Covid lockdown and the travel restrictions imposed by the Irish and UK governments and has forecast January traffic to fall to under 1.25m passengers. It has also warned that the ongoing restrictions could also reduce traffic in February and March to as few as 500,000 passengers per month. As a result, Ryanair will “significantly” cut its flights schedules from Thursday, January 21 – which will result in “few, if any” flights operating in or out of Ireland and the UK, according to a statement by the airline released today (January 7).

These new cutbacks will reduce full-year (to March 2021) traffic forecast from “below 35m” to “below 30m” but doesn’t expect these cuts and traffic reductions to materially impact its net loss for the year to March 2021 “since many of these flights would have been loss making,” the statement continued.

Ryanair has also called on the Irish and UK governments to “accelerate the slow pace of the vaccine rollouts and, in particular, calls on the Irish government to explain why Denmark, with a population of 5m, has vaccinated 40,000 citizens by Wed 6th Jan, whereas Ireland with a similar 5m pop., has vaccinated just 4,000, a vaccination rate that is 10 times slower than that of Denmark.”

Taking square aim at Ireland’s Covid strategy, a spokesperson for the airline said, “The WHO 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 virus, there is an onus on the Irish  Government to accelerate the rollout of vaccines, and the fact that the Danish Government, with a similar 5m population, has already vaccinated 10 times more citizens than Ireland shows that emergency action is needed to speed Covid vaccinations in Ireland.

NPHET (Ireland’s Public Health Team), which we believe has mismanaged many aspects of Ireland’s Covid response (face masks, test & trace, international travel, care homes and meat factories), should now release a daily report of the number of vaccines administered in Ireland, and explain why they continue to run behind the vaccination rates of other similar sized EU countries. Vaccinations rather than lockdowns is the way out of this Covid-19 crisis, and the sooner NPHET takes action to accelerate Ireland’s vaccine rollout speed, the better.” [Emphasis by Ryanair]

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Fionn Davenport is the editor-in-chief of the ITTN group, including ITTN and ITTN Ireland. He's one of Ireland's best-known travel journalists and writers, with nearly 30 years' experience writing guidebooks for Lonely Planet and others.

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