The Irish budget airline cut flight capacity for the period from November 2020 to March 2021 to 40% of where it was last year, having been planning to run at around 60%.
Ryanair said it now expects full-year passenger volumes of around 38mln, significantly below prior expectations of 60mln
Further flight restrictions imposed by governments have already much-reduced air travel to and from the UK, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Portugal and much of Central Europe, the group said, leading to forward bookings weakening slightly in October and materially in November and December.
Ryanair said it expects to maintain up to 65% of its winter route network, but with reduced frequencies and an anticipated 70% load factors, which boss Michael O’Leary said would be close to break-even and help minimise cash burn.
O'Leary said the schedule cuts "have been forced upon us by government mismanagement of EU air travel".
“Our focus continues to be on maintaining as large a schedule as we can sensibly operate to keep our aircraft, our pilots and our cabin crew current and employed while minimising job losses. It is inevitable, given the scale of these cutbacks, that we will be implementing more unpaid leave, and job sharing this winter in those bases where we have agreed reduced working time and pay, but this is a better short term outcome than mass job losses.”
He said there will be more redundancies for those cabin crew bases that have not agreed working time and pay cuts.
“We continue to actively manage our cost base to be prepared for the inevitable rebound and recovery of short haul air travel in Europe once an effective Covid-19 vaccine is developed.”
The shares fell 3% to €11.94 on Thursday morning, down 20% since the start of the year.