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Ryanair, Wizz Air post October traffic slump

The two budget airlines only flew around a third of the passengers flown in the same period last year

Ryanair Holdings plc - Ryanair, Wizz Air post October traffic slump

Ryanair Holdings plc (LON:RYA) and Wizz Air Holdings PLC (LON:WIZZ) both reported a slump in traffic during October, when infections of COVID-19 were on the rise in Europe.

Ryanair flew 4.1mln passengers, only a third of the same period last year while operating around 40% of its normal October schedule with a 73% load factor.

READ: Ryanair falls into loss and says period ahead will be hugely challenging

In the year to date, passengers flying the Irish airline dropped 53% to 70.3mln.

Similarly, Wizz Air’s passengers dropped 69% to 1.1mln, with capacity down 55% and a load factor of 66%.

In the year to date, total passengers have slipped 34% to 27mln.

However, the eastern Europe focused carrier continued to grow its network with two new bases in Norway, one in Italy and a fleet expansion with the addition of two brand new Airbus A320neo family aircraft to take the fleet to 134 aircraft.

The firm said these aircraft are powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF engines, which reduce fuel burn by 16% and nitrogen oxide emissions by 50%, and deliver close to 50% reduction in noise footprint compared to the previous generation.

On Monday, Ryanair noted passenger confidence has been affected by recent quarantine and flight restrictions in central Europe, while the second half of the year will continue to be 'hugely challenging', so it expects higher losses than the after-tax deficit of €197mln posted in the six months to September.

Boss Michael O'Leary said passengers who have booked November tickets would not receive a refund if the flight is not cancelled, despite the bans on non-essential travel implemented by European governments.

Analysts at Peel Hunt expect Ryanair to fly 9mln passengers in the third quarter with a load factor of 70%, and 35mln passengers in 2021 compared to guidance that was reduced to slightly below 38m due to the lockdown in the UK.

For both airlines, traffic in November is likely to be much weaker due to increasing travel restrictions.

"We see risks to financial year 2022 forecasts that a vaccine cannot be developed and distributed quickly enough to support 2021 demand," analysts said.

Shares in Ryanair advanced 1% to €12.53 while Wizz Air rose 3% to 3,384p on Tuesday morning.

--Adds analyst comment, shares--

Quick facts: Ryanair Holdings PLC

Price: 15.3 EUR

LSE:RYA
Market: LSE
Market Cap: €17.25 billion
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