Ryanair (RYA.L) said on Tuesday its October 2020 traffic was down 70% to 4.1 million passengers as the travel industry deals with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
The company, one of Europe’s largest budget airlines, said it had carried 13.8 million passengers in October 2019, adding it operated 40% of its normal October schedule this year, with a 73% load factor.
The news comes a day after Ryanair posted its first losses over the summer in decades. Shares slid on Monday as it revealed a first-half loss of €197m (£178m, $229m). It had made €1.15bn profit a year earlier. Revenue nosedived by 78% to €1.18bn.
Ryanair’s traffic is likely to take a further hit in November, with the UK government planning a second lockdown that bans non-essential travel.
It was also reported that the airline would not be refunding holiday makers who were unable to travel in November due to new UK lockdown restrictions. Ryanair said refunds are only made if a flight is cancelled, and it is not planning on amending its schedule.
The company had already slashed its flights for the winter period of November to March by a third.
Meanwhile another European carrier, Wizz Air, announced its traffic also plunged by nearly 70%, with the number of passengers it carried going down from 3.7 million in October 2019 to 1.1 million in October this year.
As the air travel industry is devastated by the pandemic, Charlie Cornish, CEO of Manchester Airport, one the UK’s top airport groups, slammed the government for neglecting aviation.
Cornish urged for an aid package that includes relief from “business rates, policing costs and other pressures we have no way of mitigating.”
“The government’s decision to ban people from travelling abroad came without warning and with no discussion with the industry about the support it will receive to help it get through this period,” he added.
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary also attacked the UK government over its handling of the pandemic.
Calling for a better test-and-trace system including passenger tests within 32 hours of departure, he called the new lockdown in England a “coverup for political mismanagement which the Johnson government continues to deliver.”