Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary blasts government lockdowns as traffic falls 80%

Passenger aircraft, operated by Ryanair Holdings, stand on the tarmac at London Stansted Airport in Stansted, U.K., on May 1, 2020.

Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

LONDON — Ryanair said Monday it will operate a “significantly reduced flying scheduled” in the next six months compared to its original expectations as governments across Europe tighten social restrictions.

The budget airline has been hit hard by stay-at-home orders in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The company reported on Monday a 78% drop in revenues between April and September in comparison with its performance a year ago. Ryanair also experienced an 80% fall in the number of customers in those six months.

“We expect intra-European air travel capacity to remain subdued for the next few years,” Ryanair said in a statement.

However, the firm believes the crisis “will create opportunities” going forward, such as a growing of its fleet and lower airport costs.

Other highlights from the first half of the year:

  • A net loss of 197 million euros, compared to a profit of 1.15 billion euros a year ago.
  • Operating costs fell 67% from a year ago to 1.35 billion euros.
  • Load factor reached 72% versus 96% a year ago.

Shares of Ryanair are down about 19% since the start of the year.

This is a breaking news story and it is being updated.

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