Ryanair axes third of flights and closes airport bases due to continued coronavirus travel restrictions

RYANAIR has been forced to stop flights and reduce capacity due to the continued coronavirus restrictions.

The airline is to axe more than one in three of its flight routes this winter due to low demand amid coronavirus measures across Europe.

Routes that do survive will be served with a lower frequency of flights than normal.

The budget airline said its capacity between November and March will be 40 per cent of what it was 12 months earlier, compared with the 60 per cent it previously planned.

The firm said it expects to fill 70 per cent of seats on its planes.

Group chief executive Michael O'Leary said: "While we deeply regret these winter schedule cuts, they have been forced upon us by government mismanagement of EU air travel.

"Our focus continues to be on maintaining as large a schedule as we can sensibly operate to keep our aircraft, our pilots and our cabin crew current and employed while minimising job losses."

He added that it was "inevitable" that there would be more redundancies and cuts to come, although are planning for the recovery of the airline once an "effective Covid-19 vaccine is developed".

Ryanair will also close its bases in Cork and Shannon, both in Ireland, and Toulouse in France during the five-month period.

The airline previously warned that the Irish bases would close until April 2021 if travel restrictions were not reduced.

Mr O'Leary previously warned that the industry is going to 'suffer a number of years' due to the length of the pandemic as he called thedownturn worse than 9/11.

Along with other airlines, many have been offering bargain deals to encourage bookings, with Ryanair selling £5 flights and their first buy-one-get-one-free on seats.

EasyJet, TUI and BA have also launched recent sales, as many destinations remain off the holiday list for Brits.

Spain, Portugal and France are all on the UK's quarantine list, meaning families have been forced to turn to UK staycations instead.

Only Italy and parts of Greece are the remaining holiday hotspots Brits are choosing to visit, although both have seen rising cases.

Italy could be the latest country to be added to the quarantine list today.

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