Ireland-based Ryanair indicated in an investor update that the low-cost carrier expects to welcome fewer passengers by the end of the financial year due to new travel restrictions across Europe.

Ryanair argued that new travel restrictions and lockdowns in Ireland, the United Kingdom and some European Union (EU) countries could result in as many as nine million fewer passengers by the end of the company’s financial year on March 31, 2021. The low-cost carrier reduced its forecast from below 35 million to between 26 and 30 million and warned that in February and March 2021, the airline could carry as few as 500,000 passengers per month. Meanwhile, it expects to carry 1.25 million passengers in January 2021.

“In response, Ryanair will significantly cut its flight schedules from January 21, 2021, which will result in few, if any, flights being operated to/from Ireland or the UK from the end of January until such time as these draconian travel restrictions are removed,” read the airline’s announcement on January 7, 2021.

However, the company does not expect that the flight and capacity cuts would affect its FY2021 net loss, as “many of these flights would have been loss-making,” indicated Ryanair.

The low-cost carrier has also questioned the Irish government’s vaccination efforts, asking why Denmark has managed to vaccinate 40,000 people as of January 6, 2021, while Ireland, which has a similar population, has only managed to vaccinate 4,000 people.

“NPHET (Ireland's Public Health Team), which we believe has mismanaged many aspects of Ireland's COVID-19 response (face masks, test & trace, international travel, care homes and meat factories), should now release a daily report of the number of vaccines administered in Ireland, and explain why they continue to run behind the vaccination rates of other similar sized EU countries,” commented Ryanair’s spokesperson.

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