Ryanair DAC CEO Eddie Wilson said on Thursday the airline was still optimistic about summer demand despite COVID-19 and the emergence of the Omicron virus variant making for a challenging time at Christmas.
Britain announced new measures on Saturday to try to slow the spread of the new variant, including a requirement that arrivals from all countries would have to self-isolate until receiving a negative COVID result from a PCR test.
“We were hoping that the demand curve would really get going in January once we got through Christmas but then that had been sort of T-boned by the travel restrictions but we’re still optimistic about next summer, we can see it in terms of pent-up demand,” Wilson told the World Aviation Festival in London.
Earlier on Tuesday, Ryanair reported a November load factor of 86%, carrying 10.2 million passengers.
“It’s going to be challenging for Christmas because it’s not necessarily going to be price led because people will feel the pressure not to travel for their own personal reasons,” said Wilson.
He said he did not expect the government to lift restrictions before Christmas.
“Our focus is really on next summer,” he added.
Rival easyJet said on Tuesday it had seen some softening of trading in the first quarter following COVID outbreaks including the Omicron variant, but remained well placed to handle uncertainty through its financial year.
Photo – Men wearing protective face masks wait in line at Charleroi international airport, Brussels, Belgium. EPA-EFE/ARIS OIKONOMOU