Irish airline Ryanair this Thursday announced a 40% reduction in flight capacity this winter in several countries, including Portugal, due to the impact of the covid-19 pandemic and the drop in air traffic.
In a statement, Ryanair says the bases in Cork and Shannon, Ireland, and Toulouse, France, will close for the season, from November to March, and says it will significantly reduce the number of aircraft on bases in Belgium, Germany , Spain, Portugal and Austria.
The company details that it will reduce its flight capabilities this winter to 40% against 60% last year. However, operator plans to maintain 65% of its network, but with reduced frequency.
In mid-September, the Irish airline had said it wanted to reduce its flights by 20% during October due to the impact on demand, following travel restrictions decided by governments to prevent the spread of covid-19. Ryanair’s managing director, Michael O’Leary, blames the “mismanagement of European Union air flights” to justify this reduction in his flight plans.
“It will inevitably be necessary to create more unpaid leave and job sharing this winter on the grounds that we agree on cuts in working hours and wages, but this is a better long-term solution than massive job losses,” he said, adding that ” unfortunately there will be more layoffs in the few bases (…) where we have not reached an agreement on reducing work and wages, which are the only alternative ”.
The aviation sector is one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. On Tuesday, organizations representing the sector launched an urgent global appeal for government aid to tackle the crisis that continues to empty the coffers of airlines and airports.