Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary has told Simple Flying that he expects the spread of coronavirus to slow down following Easter. The comments were made during an interview with Simple Flying on the sidelines of the Airlines For Europe conference in Brussels earlier this week.
Much like the Boeing 737 MAX was the main aviation topic in 2019, it seems as though coronavirus could be the main topic of 2020. So far we’ve seen a huge drop in demand across the globe, tied with a number of flight cancelations. The number of infections is continuing to steadily rise. However, Michael O’Leary believes that the spread will slow down after Easter.
What did Michael O’Leary say?
Simple Flying got the opportunity to discuss a range of topics including the Boeing 737 MAX’s return to service. However, one thing we clearly had to discuss was the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
The day before I met with O’Leary, Ryanair announced that it was cutting 25% of its flights to Italy due to a sharp fall in demand. However, Ryanair’s CEO didn’t think that the fall in demand would be long-lasting. He told Simple Flying:
“What will families do for the Easter school holidays, which is typically a season of a huge travel period. I think in this point in time, it will be generally unchanged over that period. We’ve seen no demand from customers yet for cancellations, or refunds which we don’t agree to anyways.”
O’Leary then went on to add:
“We expect this to evolve and spread in the next, my view is, the next couple of weeks up until the run-up to Easter. Thereafter, my guess is that you have general temperatures rising, probably a slow down in the spread of the virus across Europe just as we move from Spring into Summer”
What about other airlines?
Most airlines affected by the coronavirus outbreak within Europe have only taken action lasting until late March/early April for the time being. Examples include Lufthansa and Wizz Air. However, what will happen after this date is uncharted territory. One theory is that after Easter temperatures will begin to rise, and the transmission of the virus will be slowed. This is the view held by O’Leary.
However, O’Leary did also mention an alternative scenario where the spread of the virus continues into April and May. He added that if people travel as normal through the easter period, then demand would return to normal during May or June. Whatever happens, moving forward one thing is clear. It seems to be a case of wait and see, taking action on the situation as and when it develops.
Do you think the spread of coronavirus will slow down as temperatures rise? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!