Coronavirus: Ryanair to cut capacity by 20% as restrictions tighten

Ryanair is cutting flight capacity by a fifth in September and October as travel restrictions to some European countries tighten.

The airline said the decision came after forward bookings “notably weakened over the last 10 days” amid continued uncertainty over coronavirus case rates.

It said most of the cuts would mean reductions in the frequency of flights rather than route closures.

The carrier said the 20% fall in capacity would be “heavily focused on those countries such as Spain, France and Sweden” where rising numbers of cases have led to increased travel restrictions.

Ireland, which Ryanair said continued to impose “uniquely restrictive” quarantine restrictions on many other EU countries, will also be affected to a large degree by the cuts, the airline added.

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.”

Ryanair’s boss Michael O’Leary has been an outspoken critic of some of the quarantine measures being imposed to try to control the spread of the virus.

Announcing the capacity reductions, the airline said: “Proper testing at airports, and effective tracing (as is being conducted in Germany and Italy) is the only realistic and proportionate method of supervising safe intra-EU air travel while effectively limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus.”

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