Coronavirus: Ryanair could ground its entire fleet in April and May

Ryanair said it is ‘taking immediate action to reduce operating expenses’

Qin Xie
Monday 16 March 2020 11:28 GMT
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Ryanair is expecting to ground the majority of its fleet across Europe over the next seven to 10 days due to the travel restrictions put in place across Europe this week as a result of coronavirus.

The airline said that it could also reduce seat capacity by 80 per cent across its entire network, and could ground its entire fleet in April and May.

Ryanair said it is responding to the huge number of travel bans that were announced in the past week.

As well as hard travel bans, the airline said that due to “social distancing restrictions”, flying could become “impractical, if not impossible”.

The airline said it is “taking immediate action to reduce operating expenses”. This includes grounding surplus aircraft and introducing voluntary leave and temporarily suspending employment contracts, which could mean huge numbers of job cuts across its network.

However, the company said Ryanair Group has “strong liquidity, with strong cash and cash equivalents of over €4bn as at 12 March”.

Its statement added: “Our focus now is on completing as much of the scheduled flying program as is permitted by National Governments over the next seven days, so that we can repatriate customers, where possible, even as flight bans are imposed and ATC and essential airport services are reduced.

“We have seen a substantial decline in bookings over the last two weeks, and we expect this will continue for the foreseeable future.

“We will continue to monitor demand, as well as Government flight restrictions, and we will continue to make further cuts to schedules as necessary.”

The announcement comes as airlines around the world are beginning to plead for support from governments and stakeholders.

Many have cancelled thousands of flights, first due to the fall in demand and later due to new travel restrictions.

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