Ryanair Cuts Winter Capacity By 20% While Closing Bases

Ryanair has today revealed that it is slashing its winter schedule by 20%. Instead of operating 60% of its planned winter timetable, the Irish low-cost carrier will now operate just 40% of its pre-COVID planned flights.

Ryanair, Limited Network, New Routes
Ryanair has slashed its flight schedule from November to March. Photo: Getty Images

Recently things have been looking up for the European aviation industry. Indeed, in August, Ryanair recorded seven million passengers, just under half of what it had seen in the previous year. However, this has since fallen. As the second wave of COVID-19 sweeps across Europe, travel restrictions are increasing once more. This is similar to what was seen at the height of the first wave.

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In response, the world’s largest airline based on international passengers has slashed its forecasted passengers for the year. While this previously stood at 149 million annual customers, Ryanair now expects to carry just 38 million passengers by the end of its financial year. As a result, Ryanair has cut many flights from its schedules from November to March. It doesn’t want to operate flights it can not fill, as these will lose the airline money.

Schedule cuts = closed bases

Unfortunately, the schedule cuts being planned by Ryanair don’t just mean that fewer frequencies will be operated across the Ryanair route network. Instead, the airline will be completely closing some of its bases for the winter season. These closures will take place across Europe.

Ryanair, Lufthansa, State Aid
Bases across Europe will be closed. Photo: Getty Images

Ryanair has specifically announced three base closures, Toulouse in France, alongside Cork and Shannon in Ireland. Ryanair previously threatened the two Irish bases closures in response to Ireland’s travel restrictions. According to the airline, significant base aircraft cuts will occur in Belgium, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and Vienna.

Ryanair operates a base for its Airbus subsidiary Lauda at Dusseldorf. However, it appears that the red and white A320s won’t be seen at the airport for quite some time. No Lauda flights are available to purchase from the German airport on Lauda’s services from Monday (October 19th).

Ryanair, Base Closures, COVID-19
Ryanair’s Lauda base in Dusseldorf will close. Photo: Lauda

Unfortunate for employees

The base cuts will be unfortunate for employees looking to get back into the air following the industry’s worst crisis. Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary attributed the base cuts to “Government mismanagement of EU air travel.” He commented,

“Our focus continues to be on maintaining as large a schedule as we can sensibly operate… 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.”

O’Leary also mentioned that redundancies would happen at some of the cabin crew bases. This is because the airline is yet to secure agreements on working time and pay cuts.

Have you had a flight canceled as a result of the route cuts? Let us know how you’ve been affected in the comments.