Ryanair has said that it will reduce its flight capacity by 20 per cent in September and October, following the tightening of coronavirus restrictions in some European destinations.
The budget airline has reported “notably weakened” forward bookings over the past ten days, which have been driven by the uncertainty caused by a spike in coronavirus cases overseas.
Which flights will be cut?
Ryanair has said the cuts will see the frequency of flights to several popular holiday destinations reduced due to the rising number of infection rates.
The fall in capacity is to be “heavily focused” on countries that have seen such an increase in cases and travel restrictions reinstated, including Spain, France and Sweden.
However, the airline said that most of the cuts would be a reduction in the frequency of flights, rather than route closures.
The airline also said that Ireland will be affected to a large degree due to its “uniquely restrictive” quarantine restrictions on many European countries.
In a statement, Ryanair said: “These capacity cuts and frequency reductions for the months of September and October are unavoidable given the recent weakness in forward bookings due to Covid restrictions in a number of EU countries.
“Over the past two weeks as a number of EU countries have raised travel restrictions, forward bookings especially for business travel into September and October have been negatively affected, and it makes sense to reduce frequencies so that we tailor our capacity to demand over the next two months.”
What does it mean for customers?
Ryanair has said that any passengers who are affected by the reduced capacity in September will have been notified in an email which advises them of their options.
Those who are due to travel in October should also have received a similar email.
The airline has not confirmed the number of daily flight cancellations that will be made, but it is estimated to be around 300 to 350 per day.
Ryanair has been planning to operate around 70 per cent of its flight schedule in the coming months, which would normally amount up to 2,500 daily flights during the peak summer season.
Which countries are on the UK’s quarantine list?
At the start of July the UK government released a list of approved travel corridors, which named all the countries and territories that are considered safe to travel to.
More than 70 countries were initially included on the list, allowing UK nationals to travel to these regions without having to quarantine on their return.
However, following a rise in coronavirus cases in some parts of the world, several countries have since been removed as they currently pose a high risk to tourists.
On 27 July, Spain was removed from the list, with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advising against all non-essential travel to mainland Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands.
The advice was updated in response to an increase in coronavirus cases in several regions, but most particularly in Aragon, Navarra and Catalonia, which include the cities of Zaragoza, Pamplona and Barcelona.
Luxembourg, followed by Belgium, Andorra and the Bahamas have also been removed from the list, meaning travellers who return to the UK from these countries will now be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Most recently, France, The Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos, and the island of Aruba were all removed from the approved travel list, with the new quarantine rules coming into force from 4am on 15 August.
Any travellers returning to the UK from one of these countries now need to self-isolate for 14 days from this date. This rule applies to travellers returning to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.