Europe's largest budget airline Ryanair said that it has cut its full-year traffic forecast for the fiscal year 2021 from below 35 million to between 26 million and 30 million, largely due to the recently announced Covid-19 lockdowns in Ireland and Britain.
The newly announced lockdowns and travel restrictions, in addition to a few other European Union countries this week, will materially reduce its flight schedules and traffic forecast in the first quarter of this year, the Dublin-based airline said in a statement on Thursday.
Ryanair said it now expects that its January traffic will fall below 1.25 million passengers and its February and March traffic numbers could drop to as little as half a million respectively, reports Xinhua news agency.
In response, the airline said that it will significantly cut its flight schedules from January 21, which will result in few flights being operated to and from Ireland and Britain from the end of January until the time when these travel restrictions are removed.
These flight cuts and further traffic reductions will not materially affect Ryanair's net loss for the current fiscal year ending on March 31, 2021 as many of these flights would have been loss making, it said.
In the fiscal year 2020, Ryanair handled nearly 149 million passengers and made a profit of over 1 billion euros ($1.22 billion), according to the company's annual report.
In the statement, the airline also complained about the speed of the Irish government in rolling out the Covid-19 vaccination in the country, urging both the Irish and British governments to speed up the rollout.
"Vaccinations rather than lockdowns is the way out of this COVID-19 crisis," it argued.