Michael O'Leary, the boss of Ryanair, called out governments' "mismanagement" of Covid travel restrictions: consequently, three bases have been shut.
Michael O’Leary, the boss of Ryanair, called out governments’ “mismanagement” of Covid travel restrictions. As a consequence of these, he has been forced to cut winter flights by another 20% and close three airport bases.
Ryanair Chief Slams Governments
The airline announced it was closing Cork, Shannon and Toulouse during the winter. Plans to operate at 60% of last year’s levels have dropped to 40%. By comparison easyJet have cut 75% of flights. It is therefore clear to see the devastating impact current Covid restrictions are having on the aviation sector.
There will also be a severe reduction in operations in Belgium, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Vienna as a result of decresing demand from concerned customers. Travel restrictions have only had a minor impact on October bookings but November and December have seen a large drop-off from usual.
38 million guests are expected to fly with Ryanair next year “although this guidance could be further revised downwards if EU governments continue to mismanage air travel and impose more lockdowns this winter.” according to O’Leary.
“While we deeply regret these winter schedule cuts they have been forced upon us by government mismanagement of EU air travel.” All of this means further job cuts, reduced hours and pay for those stationed at the bases bound to close.
He added: “In the meantime, we urge all EU Governments to immediately, and fully, adopt the EU Commission’s Traffic Light System, which allows for safe air travel between EU states on a regional basis to continue, without defective travel restrictions, for those countries and regions of Europe, who are able to demonstrate that their Covid case rates are less than 50 per 100,000 population.”
These cuts are being announced as a reactive measure to governments who keep on introducing new restrictions with little to no notice, making it nearly impossible for airlines to manage their schedules. Customers are also worried about being caught out by sudden measures forcing them to quarantine or immediately return from holiday.
O’Leary has previously accused the Irish government of locking up the country “like North Korea”, in stark opposition to Italy and Germany which remained open despite having higher infection rates. The company even unsuccessfully took the government there to court to claim travel restrictions were “unlawful”. Ryanair also took legal action against the state aid used to bailout six European airlines because those based in the UK and Ireland have only been able to access financial aid offered to all sectors.
Airlines are annoyed at how slow Britain have been to take up the type of airport Covid testing systems being used in some other European countries. The government has set up a taskforce to consider the idea.