Ryanair dismissed the winter travel market as a “write-off” and cut its full-year traffic forecast by 10 million passengers as chief executive Michael O’Leary slammed the UK and Irish governments’ Covid policies.
O’Leary forecast prices through the winter would be “aggressively down” and said: “We’re guiding now for about 50 million passengers for the full year.
“The winter of 2020 will essentially be a write-off.”
Ryanair had previously forecast it would carry 60 million passengers in the 12 months to March, down from the 80 million forecast in May and 150 million expected pre-Covid.
The carrier put 750,000 seats on sale at half price for September and October on September 8.
O’Leary suggested the UK government was “just making stuff up as they go along to cover the fact that test and trace is effectively non-existent” and said he “wouldn’t take any advice or guidance” from Boris Johnson”.
He said the Prime Minister “ruled out wearing face masks originally [and] was running around shaking hands with everybody. He has consistently called the entire Covid pandemic wrong.”
Speaking on Sky News, O’Leary said: “Our customers are struggling to make any bookings with confidence when you have the British government locking down Bolton one day, Preston another day, inventing this new restriction that social settings will be reduced to six people.”
However, O’Leary described Ireland as “by far the worst”, arguing the country was “closed for business”.
He warned Ryanair is looking to close more bases and withdraw capacity from countries which do not have the Covid pandemic under control
Ryanair threatened to quit its headquarters in Ireland last week unless the Dublin government lifts its travel restrictions, arguing: “You can’t do business with a 14-day quarantine.”
The carrier raised €850 million through a Eurobond issue this week, having attracted more than €4 billion in offers.
Group chief financial officer Neil Sorahan said: “This €850 million transaction, which follows Ryanair’s successful €400 million share placing last week, was multiple times oversubscribed.”
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