By Tony Winterburn •
Published: 23 Apr 2020 • 14:06
O'Leary said keeping middle seats empty would be "entirely ineffective"
Michael O’Leary said that “idiotic” social distancing rules will keep the company out of action until well after the coronavirus crisis and called on the Irish government to foot the bill to keep it in business. O’Leary went on to say that the airline’s flight schedule could be running at 80 per cent capacity by September this year.
Scared to book flights
However, he added that Ryanair will not resume flying “at all” if middle seats are required to be kept empty. The problem is now that thousands of holidaymakers already looking to book for late summer are scared to book a flight in case he keeps his word and doesn’t fly, especially with the refund scandal going on!
O’Leary branded the potential measure as “entirely ineffective” and said the company had told the Irish government that “either the government pays for the middle seat or we won’t fly.” We can’t make money on 66 per cent load factors. Even if you do that, the middle seat doesn’t deliver any social distancing, so it’s kind of an idiotic idea that doesn’t achieve anything anyway.”
O’Leary’s airline, which has thrived by luring its customers with low prices, has previously said that blocking out space in between aisle seats is “nonsense” that would have no beneficial effect.
Ryanair’s business model relies on flying as frequently as possible, add-on costs, and running an extremely high “load factor,” which is the aviation industry term for how full planes are.
“We can’t make money on 66 per cent load factors,” he said. The global airline industry’s trade body, IATA, has warned of huge ramifications for airlines as a result of Covid-19, with lost revenues this year set to hit £255 billion.
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