Ryanair has decided to temporarily suspend all its recruitment decisions and salary increases because of the coronavirus crisis and the impact on its activity, according to an internal letter reported by Belga news agency.
This situation will remain in force until the Irish company has a clear view of its schedules for the summer season, which is due to start at the end of the month.
Following the Italian government’s decision to place the entire territory under quarantine, Ryanair suspended all its flights to Italy on Tuesday until 8 April. Domestic flights will be suspended on Wednesday and international flights from Friday.
In a letter sent to the company’s staff, its CEO Eddie Wilson refers to a “very trying” period for the aviation industry and “unprecedented” compared to previous shocks such as September 11, 2001, the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) crisis or the volcanic ash cloud that grounded thousands of planes in Europe in 2010. The flight programme was then able to resume rapidly.
Faced with the current health crisis and falling demand for flights, Ryanair intends to respond by reducing its number of flights, as already communicated, and conserving its resources. This is in order to be able to return quickly to normal once the crisis has passed and passenger confidence has been restored.
The company cannot rule out the possibility that similar flight restriction measures will soon affect other countries, with the result that flights may be cancelled and the risk of redundancies, possibly collective redundancies, increased.
The impact of the virus was initially marginal, and limited to airports with connections to the concerned regions in Asia, but due to the spread of the coronavirus to Europe, airports now face a real crisis, the European airports association, ACI-Europe, said on Tuesday.
It forecasts that airports in Europe will have 67 million fewer passengers in the first quarter, a 13.5% reduction compared to a normal first quarter. Additionally, the airports stand to lose about €1.3 billion in gross receipts in the first quarter alone.
ACI-Europe expects passenger traffic at Europe’s airports for the entire year 2020 to be 7.5% lower than in 2019, whereas it had initially expected a 2.3% increase.