Ryanair slashes capacity at Liverpool by 50%

Low-cost airline Ryanair will fly to just 10 countries from Liverpool Airport this winter on 20 routes – a capacity cut of 50% due to COVID-19. Here is a list of the routes. Tony McDonough reports

Ryanair, aircraft
Ryanair will fly to just 10 countries from Liverpool this winter


Ryanair is slashing its winter capacity out of Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) by 50% as it continues to adjust to COVID-19 restrictions across Europe.

After initially slashing capacity across its whole European route network for the winter to 60% of its normal schedule, Ryanair last week announced this would drop to 40% amid falling bookings and a resurgence of the virus.

At Liverpool the Irish carrier is cutting capacity by 50% for winter 2020/21 compared to winter 2019/20. At full capacity Ryanair flies to more than 30 destinations from Liverpool. This winter that will fall to 20 routes to 10 different countries, with 48 flights each week. Those countries and routes are:

  • Bulgaria – Sofia
  • Cyprus – Paphos
  • Ireland – Dublin, Knock
  • Northern Ireland – Derry
  • Lithuania – Vilnius
  • Malta
  • Poland – Krakow, Poznan, Szczecin, Warsaw Modlin, Wroclaw
  • Portugal – Faro
  • Slovakia – Kosice
  • Spain – Alicante, Barcelona, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Malaga, Tenerife

In a statement to LBN the company said: “Due to increased flight restrictions imposed by EU governments, air travel has been heavily curtailed. As a result, Ryanair has reduced its winter schedule taking capacity. In Liverpool, Ryanair will operate 20 routes in total, to and from nine countries, including one new route to Kosice in Slovakia.”

Aviation has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic since March. In a trading update last week Ryanair said it expects passenger numbers for the year to March 31, 2021, to fall to 38m. It’s original target for the year was 154m.

Earlier this month, Ryanair’s main Liverpool rival, easyJet, said it expects full-year losses of more than £800m – the first deficit in its history. It admitted in a trading update that it was burning through cash.

Dublin-based Ryanair says due to increased flight restrictions imposed by EU governments, air travel to and from much of central Europe, the UK, Ireland, Austria, Belgium and Portugal has been heavily curtailed.

This has caused forward bookings to weaken slightly in October, but “materially” in November and December. It expects to maintain up to 65% of its winter route network, but with reduced frequencies.

In addition to the winter closure of bases in Cork, Shannon, and Toulouse, Ryanair has announced significant base aircraft cuts in Belgium, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Vienna.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said the full-year passenger guidance of 38m could be cut further with more lockdowns. He added: “While we deeply regret these winter schedule cuts they have been forced upon us by Government mismanagement of EU air travel.”

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