Ryanair cuts flights across Europe as virus hits bookings

Ryanair will cut capacity by 20% in September and October due to "notably weakened" bookings in recent days, news wires reported. The airline said the drop was driven by "uncertainty over recent Covid case rates in some EU countries". The cuts will mostly be in flight numbers as opposed to route closures.

Ryanair said they will be heavily focused on countries where virus rates have led to the UK and Ireland re-imposing travel restrictions. Britain has re-imposed 14-day quarantines on travellers coming from several countries including Spain, France and Sweden. Ireland has similar travel restrictions for countries including Germany and the UK.

Ryanair had increased flights to 60% of its normal schedule this month after resuming services in July. But on Monday a spokesman said: "These capacity cuts and frequency reductions for the months of September and October are unavoidable given the recent weakness in forward bookings due to Covid restrictions in a number of EU countries.

Meanwhile, rival airline Easyjet has confirmed that it will close bases at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle, with the loss of 670 jobs. There could be up to about 1,200 further UK job losses as Easyjet works through plans to cut staff due to the coronavirus pandemic. The airline said in May that it wanted to cut 4,500 jobs. It has yet to begin consultations with its staff in other European countries.

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