A Ryanair Boeing 737-800 plane takes off from the airport in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Picture: REUTERS/PAUL HANNA
A Ryanair Boeing 737-800 plane takes off from the airport in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Picture: REUTERS/PAUL HANNA

Dublin  — Ryanair on Wednesday more than doubled its annual loss forecast and cut its January traffic estimate by 33% due to travel restrictions imposed in the wake of the emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

The Irish airline, Europe’s largest by passenger numbers, said in a statement it expects a net loss of between £250m and £450m in the 12 months to the end of March. That compares with a previous forecast of a loss of between £100m and £200m.

It cut its December passenger forecast to a range of 9-million to 9.5-million, from 10-million to 11-million.

It blamed last weekend’s ban on British arrivals into France and Germany, and the suspension of all EU flights to and from Morocco.

The airline cut its January traffic forecast to between 6 and 7 million, from 10 million.

It said it would wait to revise its February and March schedules until January, “as more scientific information becomes available on the Omicron variant, its impact on hospitalisations, European population and/or travel restrictions”.

Ryanair said it now expects to fly just under 100-million passengers in the year to the end of March.

“These figures are hugely sensitive to any further positive or negative Covid news flow,” it said.

Ryanair  CEO Michael O’Leary told the Telegraph earlier this week only vaccinated passengers should be allowed to fly.

Bloomberg reported  O’Leary was pushing  back against compulsory vaccine programmes being rolled out in Austria and Germany in the interview.

Instead, governments should “make life difficult” for people who refuse to take the vaccine without good reason.  “If you’re not vaccinated, you shouldn’t be allowed in the hospital, you shouldn’t be allowed to fly, you shouldn’t be allowed on the London Underground, and you shouldn’t be allowed in the local supermarket or your pharmacy either,” he said. 

Reuters 

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