Ryanair Posts Dismal Traffic Figures For February


As much of its operation remains at a standstill, Ryanair clocked another month of record low traffic. The airline revealed that it carried just half of a million passengers in February 2021. For comparison, in February 2020, it had 10.5 million passengers.

Ryanair, Passengers, Traffic
As expected, Ryanair’s passenger numbers plummeted in February. Photo: Getty Images

While aviation in some regions is doing remarkably well, this is not the case worldwide. Carriers in Europe are seeing traffic dropping to levels not seen since the height of the crisis last year, as the continent grapples with its second significant COVID-19 wave. This was made evident in Ryanair’s February traffic results.

Another terrible month for Ryanair

In February, Ryanair says it only carried half a million passengers. While this number seems incredibly low, it is not unexpected. The airline has grounded the majority of its services from Ireland and the United Kingdom as a result of strict entry requirements implemented by both nations.

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As a result of the schedule cut, the airline already predicted low passenger numbers some time ago. Indeed, according to Ryanair‘s previous estimations, passenger numbers in March will be similar. Rather than operating a series of sparsely populated flights, the airline is focusing on crucial routes, all keeping the rest of its fleet in tiptop condition with ghost flights.

Ryanair, Passengers, Traffic
Ryanair’s traffic recovered by half in August 2020. Graph: Simple Flying

Adding the figures together, we see that over the past 12 months, Ryanair has carried 32.7 million passengers, equating to a load factor of 74%. In the 12 months up to March 1st, 2020, Ryanair carried 153.8 million passengers.


While traffic fell 95% month on month, year-on-year it is only down 79%. Once the first lockdowns were ended, Ryanair saw a vast, almost instant, increase in traffic. In August 2020, the carrier’s passenger numbers had already increased to half of the previous years numbers. Considering everything thrown at the airline, managing 4.4 million passengers was reasonably impressive.

Will things improve?

That just leaves the question – will things get better? And if so, when? Given how bad the situation has got, it’s almost sure that it will get better in the future. Exactly when is still up for debate.

Ryanair, Ghost Flights, COVID-19
Given how bad the situation has become, it has to get better in the future. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

The UK has said that international travel won’t resume until May 17 at the earliest. Given that the UK is one of Ryanair‘s biggest markets, this is not good news. However, if last year‘s numbers are anything to go by, when travel is allowed again, Ryanair will be able to ramp up its services reasonably quickly.

The fact that more and more of the population is becoming vaccinated against the virus is also a positive move. Vaccines will hopefully be able to reopen travel corridors to and from the UK.

What do you make of the February traffic numbers reported by Ryanair? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below.