Ryanair said it will fly fewer passengers than planned this winter
He confirmed that the airline has put on extra flights from Ireland and elsewhere for December, saying that bookings are increasing as some European lockdowns are lifted.
He said that the EU traffic light system is in place to ensure free movement of people and that if people adhere to the traffic light system for testing, travel can happen safely.
However, Mr Wilson said he does not expect a more full return to international travel until next spring or summer when a vaccine becomes available.
He said it is a reasonable assumption to say people will be vaccinated before travelling next year and that Ryanair has kept all crews and aircraft current in anticipation of that.
Compulsory vaccinations for long haul-travel makes sense, he also said, but added that Ireland needs to work in parallel with its European Union partners and not make unilateral decisions on travel.
Meanwhile, recent Covid-19 lockdowns mean Ryanair will fly fewer passengers than planned this winter and Europe’s biggest low-cost airline does not expect to return to pre-pandemic levels of service until next autumn, its group chief executive said today.
Ryanair said earlier this month it expected to fly 38 million passengers in its financial year to March 31.
That is now likely to fall to “the mid-30s”, Group CEO Michael O’Leary said in an interview.
In the following year, Ryanair could fly anywhere between 80 million and 130 million passengers, depending on how the roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines progress, he said.
Michael O’Leary said the group expected to fly between 60% and 80% of last year’s capacity for much of next year, falling to 60-70% during the peak summer period.
“But I think by the time we get to the end of the summer into winter 2021 we expect to be back to pretty much close to all of our 2019 schedules,” he said.
Earlier, Michael O’Leary said he expects Ryanair’s load factor in November to be in the mid 60% range.
The airline’s load figure – a measure of how many seats are filled on each flight – was 73% in October.
He also said that quarantine for air passengers is a “fig leaf” that does not work. He said that quarantines are “not enforceable and people don’t comply”.
Ryanair hopes to place additional orders for Boeing’s freshly approved 737 MAX in talks that are set to conclude late this year or in early 2021, Michael O’Leary also said today.
“I think it is important for Boeing to announce some customer orders and we would certainly be very keen to be at the front of the queue because the MAX 200 is a great aircraft,” Mr O’Leary said, referring to the 197-seat variant of the plane.
Asked whether the orders would be in addition to the 135 firm orders and 75 options that Ryanair currently has for the MAX 200, he said he could not comment because the talks were confidential.