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Ryanair to cut 3,000 jobs

O'Leary blasts state aid to competitors

Ryanair (RYA) has announced plans to cut 3,000 jobs to help it cope with the pressures of the economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Europe’s largest budget airline announced that it had pushed back the start of its return to normal scheduling from June to July. With the company only flying 50 per cent of its planned capacity in the three months to September, it has also stated its intention to enter talks with Boeing (BA) to delay new plane deliveries.

Only a fortnight ago, Ryanair said it had no plans to defer aircraft orders and stated that it could see strong profits in 2021. With most of Europe still in some sort of lockdown, founder and CEO Michael O’Leary stated: “Ryanair now expects the recovery of passenger demand and pricing (to 2019 levels) will take at least two years, to until summer 2022 at the earliest.”

O’Leary added that he expected a loss of around €100m (£88m, $110m) in the three months to June, this would be the first time that Ryanair has ever suffered a second quarter loss.

Threatening legal action, he observed that when a semblance of normality returns Ryanair would be “forced to compete with flag carrier airlines who have received €30bn in state aid doping to allow them to sustain below-cost selling for months after this COVID-19 crisis has passed.”

This is broadly in keeping with O’Leary’s outlook. A consistent critic of excessive state intervention of the air travel industry, the airline boss accused Sir Richard Branson of trying to “fleece the taxpayer” when Virgin Atlantic requested assistance from the British government and called for his billionaire rival to bail out the airline himself.

Having already fallen over 33 per cent in the year to date, Ryanair’s share price closed Friday trading down 6.40 per cent.

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