Europeans are traveling around their continent more freely than Americans right now, but that doesn’t mean their airlines aren’t still reeling from the pandemic. Budget airlines Ryanair and easyJet just announced major cuts to their flight schedules, with Ryanair cutting its capacity by 20 percent in the next few months and easyJet closing three of its UK bases.
In a statement, a Ryanair spokesperson said, “These capacity cuts and frequency reductions for the months of September and October are necessary given the recent weakness in forward bookings due to COVID restrictions in a number of EU countries.”
The cutbacks will apply mostly to flight frequency, rather than eliminating routes entirely. Most of Ryanair’s reductions are taking place in France, Spain, and Sweden, where COVID-19 transmission rates are leading to stricter travel restrictions. Cuts are also being made in Ireland, where the airline is based, due to the country’s 14-day quarantine policy for incoming travelers.
Starting at the end of August, British-based easyJet will be closing its bases at London Stansted, London Southend, and Newcastle airports.
EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said in a press release, “We have had to take the very difficult decision to close three UK bases as a result of the unprecedented impact of the pandemic and related travel restrictions, compounded by quarantine measures in the UK which is impacting demand for travel.”