June 30, 2020 / 11:09 PM / 4 days ago

Ryanair expects to fly 4.5 million passengers in July

FILE PHOTO: Ryanair planes are seen at Dublin Airport, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Dublin, Ireland, May 1, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff/File Photo

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ryanair (RYA.I) expects to fly more than 4.5 million passengers in July as it returns to a more regular schedule with 40% of its usual capacity for the peak summer month, it said on Wednesday.

While that would be a drop of almost 70% from July last year, it would be a huge increase from April and May when Europe’s biggest budget airline flew just 110,000 passengers.

The Irish carrier has operated a skeleton service since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down most European air travel in the middle of March and plans to restore almost 90% of its routes from July 1, albeit with fewer flights.

Passenger numbers for June are due to be released in the coming days.

Ryanair is trying to entice passengers back into the sky with lower fares and said a sale introduced on Wednesday represented the lowest fares ever offered by Ryanair during the peak summer months.

“These 1,000 daily flights mark an important turning point for Ryanair and for the tourism industry of Europe,” Ryanair Group Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said in a statement. “We expect in July to carry more than 4.5 million customers.”

Budget rival EasyJet (EZJ.L) resumed flying in mid-June but has said it expects its capacity to be about 30% of usual levels for the busy July-to-September season.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by David Clarke

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