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Irish carrier Ryanair has announced it is extending the
limited flight schedule it has been operating in cooperation with European
governments for another week to Thursday, 23 April.
The low-cost airline has grounded more than 99 per cent of
its fleet due to travel restrictions imposed across Europe, but it has been
working with EU governments to maintain some air links “for emergency reasons”.
These include flights between Dublin and London Stansted, London Gatwick,
Birmingham, Edinburgh, Bristol, Glasgow, Manchester, Amsterdam, Brussels,
Berlin, Lisbon and Cologne, as well as between Cork and Stansted. They also include
services between Stansted and Eindhoven, Lisbon, Cork, Berlin and Budapest.
All of these flights are operated on a daily or weekly
Ryanair said that due to low load factors, it has been able
to put social distancing measures in place on board to ensure passengers
maintain safe distances. It is also disinfecting its aircraft on a daily basis
to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
In a statement, the airline added: “At this time, we don’t
know how long the lockdown will last. We fully support the action taken by EU
governments and we are ready to return to flying when Covid-19 is defeated,
which will hopefully be sooner rather than later.”
Ryanair recently told investors that it expects its FY20
profit after tax to be between €950 million and €1 billion, which is the lower
end of its previous guidance. The airline saw March passenger traffic fall 48
It said the impact of the Covid-19 shutdown will be more
apparent in its FY21 results, as it expects to take a €300 million hit from
fuel hedging costs.
However, it assured investors that it has “one of the
strongest balance sheets in the industry” with year-end cash equivalents of €3.8
billion and 77 per cent of its fleet being “unencumbered and debt free”. It has
also taken steps to mitigate the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak,
including cutting all pay by 50 per cent for April and May.