Ryanair CEO Warns of Covid Turbulence in Europe
Dozens of Ryanair planes grounded in Italy during the pandemic in 2020.
Michael O'Leary is warning of a "fraught period" ahead for airline bookings in Europe due to a winter resurgence in Covid-19 cases in the region.
Austria this week became the first European country to impose a full lockdown this winter, shutting bars, restaurants and non-essential shops, while many of its neighbours are also tightening restrictions amid burgeoning cases.
"Up until last weekend, things were going great. Volumes were back running at about 100% of our pre-Covid price volumes. It has been disrupted by the Austrian lockdown and there is a renewed concern across Europe about a fourth or fifth wave of Covid," O'Leary told an online event, according to news agencies.
Disruption into 2022
The boss of Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers said he feared the disruption would continue into 2022, with would-be travellers delaying bookings for breaks next summer.
"I think it's inevitable we will undermine confidence between now and Christmas, and that will disrupt Christmas and also unsettle people between Christmas and New Year when they would normally start booking their summer holidays."
The World Travel & Tourism Council said in October that travel and tourism was recovering more slowly than expected from the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic, hampered by a lack of international coordination, severe travel restrictions and slow vaccination rates in some regions.
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