Ryanair Reduces Winter Capacity; Announces Closure Of Cork And Shannon Bases

By Dave Simpson
Ryanair Reduces Winter Capacity; Announces Closure Of Cork And Shannon Bases

Ryanair has announced that it plans to operate with 70% load factors from November to March, and that it has reduced its capacity for the period from 60% to 40% of the capacity for the same period a year earlier.

The airline expects to maintain up to 65% of its winter route network, but with reduced frequencies.

Ryanair has also announced the winter closure of its bases in Cork, Shannon, and Toulouse, and significant base aircraft cuts in Belgium, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Vienna.

Ryanair now expects its full year (FY21) passenger traffic to fall to approximately 38 million customers.

Ryanair Group CEO Michael O'Leary stated, "We have continued to flex our capacity in September and October to reflect both market conditions and changing government restrictions, with the objective of sustaining a 70% load factor, which allows us operate as close to break-even as possible and minimise cash burn. While the COVID situation remains fluid and hard to predict, we must now cut our full year traffic forecast to 38 million guests."


"Devastated To Hear Of Ryanair's Decision To Close Its Base At Cork"

Reacting to the news of the winter closure of Ryanair's base at Cork Airport, Cork Airport managing director Niall MacCarthy said, "The team here at Cork Airport is really devastated to hear of Ryanair's decision to close its base at Cork with the loss of so many direct and indirect jobs and the cessation of thirteen routes.

"We have done everything in our power at Cork Airport to retain the base here and the connectivity that it delivers for the south of Ireland region.

"However, since the pandemic, many Ryanair flights to and from Cork have been operating with fewer than ten passengers."

MacCarthy added, "Despite the base closure, Ryanair will still retain three routes serving Cork over the winter - Stansted, Katowice and Gdansk. However, these routes will be operated by aircraft and staff based outside of Ireland. Ryanair has had a base at Cork Airport since 2005, and this winter will be the first time in 15 years that the airline has not had any aircraft based in Cork.

"With the appropriate financial supports and travel policies from government, we will work tirelessly to secure the return of the Ryanair base at Cork ahead of next summer, when, hopefully, the airline will be in a position to replace lost services."


"Very Disappointing News"

Meanwhile, reacting to the news of the winter closure of Ryanair's base at Shannon Airport, Shannon Group CEO Mary Considine said, "This is very disappointing news not only for Shannon based Ryanair employees and all our airport team, but for the whole region who rely on the services that Ryanair provide. We have done everything in our power to retain the base.

"In July, Ryanair resumed services to 16 destinations from Shannon, and as a result of [this] announcement, this will see their operation at Shannon reduced to eight flights serving Stansted, Manchester and Wroclaw for the winter period."

© 2020 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.