Ryanair lays off 75 employees to keep Faro base open

Ryanair predicts “severe cuts” to winter flights in Portugal

Ryanair’s People Director has said that there is a “real possibility of severe cuts” to the airline’s winter flights in Portugal due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are facing very uncertain times, and there is a very real possibility of severe cuts in Portugal this winter at all our bases, in terms of capacity and planes,” Darrell Hughes told Lusa news agency this week.

The low-cost airline had already announced that it would cut capacity by 20% in September and October in Europe following “notably weakened” bookings.

The airline said the drop was driven by “uncertainty over recent Covid case rates in some EU countries” and that cuts will mostly be in flight numbers as opposed to route closures.

It added that the cuts will be “heavily focused” on countries where virus rates have led to the UK and Ireland re-imposing travel restrictions.

“Any forecasts made now for this winter will probably be wrong. We are scrutinising everything very thoroughly, but we will for certain have much fewer flights than we did last winter,” Hughes said.

He said that “we still have to determine where the cuts will be made, but certainly some of them will be in Portugal,” Hughes stated.

The spokesperson also said that the airline has a deal with pilots to “keep them employed, which at least offers them some protection,” although he admitted that it is in “survival and reconstruction mode”.