LONDON – Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair (FR) has announced it will be cutting its capacity by 20%. This is due to stricter travel restrictions by some countries across Europe.

Ryanair noted that it took the decision after forward bookings “notably weakened over the last 10 days”.

This is of course due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Ryanair has said that the capacity cuts will be on frequencies only and not actual routes.

The likes of Spain, France, and Sweden are amongst those focused countries where a rising number of COVID-19 cases have led to increased travel restrictions.

Ryanair Boeing 737-8AS reg. SP-RKK on final at Naples International Airport (NAP). Photo: Marco Macca – @aviator_ita

Comments from Ryanair

A airline spokesperson for Ryanair commented on this decision saying that this makes perfect business sense.

“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.”

“These capacity cuts and frequency reductions for the months of Sept & Oct are necessary given the recent weakness in forward bookings due to Covid restrictions in a number of EU countries.”

“Any effected passengers in Sept received email notification earlier today advising them of their options.”

“Similar communications will be issued to the small number of affected passengers in Oct later today.”

Photo: Ryanair

Feeling the Pinch

COVID-19 has had a significant involvement in the way things are being run across the industry. For Ryanair, this also comes as the same.

Additional quarantine rules for in-bounds to the UK and Ireland means that people do not want to fly for that hassle.

As a result, Ryanair in the last couple of weeks has had to take certain actions to save money during the pandemic.

The first came on July 21 when the airline announced it would shut down all of its German based by the end of the Summer 2020 schedule.

Traffic at the airline has also dropped by 99% to just 500,000 in the first half of 2020 from 42 million passengers in the same period last year.

Photo: Adrian Pingstone

What’s Next?

Given the fact that base closures are already taking place across Europe, it would not be surprising if this was more focused on the affected countries.

Spain, France and Sweden will no doubt suffer from these capacity reductions, especially with low passenger numbers meaning lower economic tourist value.

It will be interesting to see what FR does next and also how long the strict restrictions will last.

Ultimately, if it goes on too long, then FR will have to change its outlook, which initially was strong enough to weather this storm.

Featured Image: Ryanair Boeing 737-800. Photo: Aldo Bidini