Ryanair is to cancel almost one in five flights from its September and October schedules after a drop in bookings in the last 10 days, as Covid-19 cases have increased in Europe, leading to fresh quarantine restrictions.
Europe’s biggest carrier said forward bookings had “noticeably weakened” and it would take 20% from its capacity to reflect demand, mainly cutting flight frequencies rather than routes.
Ryanair said the biggest cuts in its flight network would be to France, Spain and Sweden, as well as Ireland, which has imposed tight quarantine rules.
France was removed from the UK government’s travel corridor list with effect from 4am Saturday, following a week of speculation, forcing returning passengers to quarantine for 14 days. Spain was removed abruptly at the end of last month.
Ryanair said Ireland’s quarantine rules were now the most restrictive of any EU country and called on the Irish government to amend its “green list” of safe countries, which currently includes Germany.
The airline said passengers affected by the cancellations in September had been notified of their options by email, and the rest would be told later on Monday.
A spokesperson said: “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.”
Airline and travel company stocks took a further hit in trading on Monday, as confidence in foreign travel was again rocked by rising coronavirus cases around Europe and uncertainty over potential restrictions. Ryanair shares were down 3%, while British Airways owner IAG was the bigger faller in the FTSE 100, down 3.5%. EasyJet shares fell 1%, while shares in German holiday giant TUI were down 4%.