Ryanair CEO ‘confident’ airline will survive Covid crisis as speedy recovery expected
Ryanair airline 'will be a survivor of coronavirus' says O’Leary
The Ryanair CEO has also reiterated the need for certainty and for the coronavirus vaccination programme to be sped up. Mr O’Leary claimed Ryanair would be “one of the survivors” of Covid. His remarks come as the Irish company was forced to cut its flight schedule in the face of plummeting passenger numbers in the wake of yet more lockdowns across Europe, something the airline as previously blasted as “ineffective”.
The airline boss has shaken-off suggestions of a collapse in the share price on the back of the pandemic, arguing Ryanair will make a “strong recovery” in the future once restrictions are lifted.
Speaking to ITV’s Robert Peston, Mr O’Leary said: “I think the markets tend to look beyond the short term news cycle. We recently, before Christmas, announced a new deal with Boeing to take more aircraft.
“I think there is a recognition that Ryanair will be one of the survivors, the strong recovery airlines coming out of Covid.
“The share price is temporary, it moves up and down. I think we will recover strongly once the Covid restrictions are removed.”
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New coronavirus restrictions are expected to cause airline traffic in February and March to fall to as little as 500,000 passengers per month.
Mr O’Leary continued: “What we need is some more certainty as to when these restrictions will be removed.
“That depends on the successful rollout or accelerated roll-out of the vaccine programme for the high-risk groups as Boris Johnson has promised before the middle of February.”
Following the latest lockdown measures across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, Ryanair has predicted its January traffic will fall to under 1.25 million passengers.
The company is the latest in a string of airlines which have been forced to amend and reduce schedules amid the latest lockdown measures.
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From January 21, Ryanair has outlined plans to “significantly cut” its flight schedule.
In a press release, the airline states there will be “few if any, flights being operated to or from Ireland or the UK from the UK from the end of January until such a time as these draconian travel restrictions are removed”.
The new cutbacks will also reduce full-year traffic forecast from currently “below 35m” to between 26m and 30m.
All customers affected by the new flight cancellations will be contacted by the airline to discuss their options.
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Passengers will be entitled to move their journey to a future date, or claim back a full refund.
Airline bosses are also urging the Irish and UK government’s to accelerate the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement on Monday evening, Jet2, British Airways and EasyJet all amended schedules.
Jet2 cancelled all flights and holiday packages until mid-February with the exception of its ski flights and Iceland programme.
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