Not only has the emergence of the Omicron variant killed any hopes major airlines had for ending 2021 on a high note, the widespread travel restrictions enacted in its wake are further pummeling a beleaguered industry.
Ryanair on Wednesday more than doubled its annual loss forecast and cut its January traffic estimate by 33 percent 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 250 million euros ($283 million) and 450 million in the 12 months to the end of March.
That compares with a previous forecast of a loss of between 100 million and 200 million euros.
It cut its December passenger forecast to a range of 9 to 9.5 million, from 10 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 from an earlier forecast of just over 100 million.
“These figures are hugely sensitive to any further positive or negative Covid news flow,” it said.
($1 = 0.8834 euros)
(Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Alexander Smith and David Holmes)
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Photo credit: Ryanair expects to be further in the red due to travel restrictions enacted in the wake of Omicron. tpicture / Pixabay