By Samuel Indyk
Investing.com – Passenger numbers at both Ryanair Holdings PLC (LON:) and Wizz Air Holdings PLC (LON:) tumbled in March as the impact of the coronavirus continues to play havoc with the travel and leisure sector.
Ryanair announced just 500,000 passengers flew with them last month, down 91% from the same month in 2020 when 5.5mln passengers boarded their aircraft.
On a rolling annual basis, passenger traffic is down 81% to 27.5mln from the previous 12 months when the airline carried 148.6mln passengers. The company announced they operated just 5% of its normal schedule in March and load factor was 77%.
Traffic figures for Wizz Air were similar. The airline carried 480,000 passengers in March, down 73% from the March 2020 when they carried 1.75mln passengers. Load factor last month was just 62.5% as capacity was down 60%.
On a rolling 12-month basis, passenger traffic is down 75% to 10.2mln passengers. The 12 months prior to that, the airline carried over 40mln passengers.
On a brighter note, the company also announced its 42nd base in Palermo, Italy last month and added two Airbus A321 aircraft from June 2021. They also announced new routes from Tel Aviv to destinations in Greece, from Abu Dhabi to destinations in Kazakhstan, and from Poland to five destinations across the Mediterranean.
The announcements come just a day after the UK government provided updated guidance on international travel from the UK.
“The roadmap said that any return to international travel without a reasonable excuse, for example for holidays, would be no earlier than 17 May,” the UK government said in a statement. “Given the state of the pandemic abroad, and the progress of vaccination programmes in other countries, we are not yet in a position to confirm that non-essential international travel can resume from that point.”
There was also a suggestion that Covid-19 tests may be required for international travellers, or that they must provide proof of vaccination before going abroad.
The CEO of easyJet (LON:) has criticised some of the plans from the UK government to restart travel, saying that Covid-19 tests should not be a requirement for passengers travelling to low-risk destinations.
“That doesn’t make sense for me…because this could add to cost and complexities,” Johan Lundgren told BBC Radio.
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