Ryanair sharpens knives against its competitors for the summer season of 2021 by offering 26 new routes to one of the most popular European holiday destinations including Greece, Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal.

The Irish low-cost airline Ryanair shows its determination to use the current forecasted short-haul air travel re-opening for its own benefit and jump ahead of its competitors. The company bets on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout program implemented by the government of the United Kingdom.

The company unveiled plans to operate a bunch of new routes including new daily flights out of Belfast International Airport (BFS) to Alicante (ALC), Malaga (MLG), Palma de Mallorca (PMI), and Faro (FAO) as well as the route from Newcastle International Airport (NCL) to Chania (CHQ). The airline also announced other holiday hotspot flights to Corfu (CFU), Santorini (JTR), Menorca (MAH), Ibiza (IBZ), and the Canary Islands.

“The UK Government has implemented a very successful vaccine rollout program, and is on track for a re-opening of EU short-haul travel this summer,” Michael O’Leary said, the CEO of Ryanair, was quoted in the statement.

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In February 2021, O’Leary said he expected travel restrictions to be dropped once high-risk groups were inoculated, unleashing "pent up demand" as the UK expected to vaccinate everyone over 50 by the end of March, while Europe would achieve the same goal by June 2021.  The CEO of the airline also forecasted “a strong return” for European beach holidays during the summer season and revealed that as soon as the COVID-19 virus recedes, Ryanair will rapidly restore its schedules and recover the lost traffic.

"We think once all those high-risk groups - the elderly, the nursing homes have been vaccinated then the travel restrictions should be removed, particularly on short-haul intra-European travel. [...] We expect to see a very strong return of British families traveling to the beaches of Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Greece in relative safety this summer," O’Leary added.

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With the glorious sunshine beginning to warm our hearts, for airlines, the warmth of the season could also mean crucial cash reserves.