Ryanair warns they may be forced to ground all flights due to coronavirus
RYANAIR warns that they may be forced to ground all of their flights as Europe becomes the "coronavirus epicentre".
The airline added that 80 per cent of seat capacity could be cut in April and May, as the pandemic continues to spread across Europe. Ryanair said in a statement: "For April and May, Ryanair now expects to reduce its seat capacity by up to 80%, and a full grounding of the fleet cannot be ruled out.
"Ryanair expects the result of these restrictions will be the grounding of the majority of its aircraft fleet across Europe over the next 7 to 10 days.
"In those countries where the fleet is not grounded, social distancing restrictions may make flying to all intents and purposes, impractical, if not, impossible."
The low-cost airline has already reduced the number of flights due to new travel restrictions across Europe.
Poland and Norway have banned all flights while countries including Spain and France have gone into lockdown.
Ryanair's Michael O'Leary said they were doing "everything they can" to fight the effects of coronavirus.
He added: "We are communicating with all affected passengers by email and SMS, and we are organising rescue flights to repatriate customers, even in those countries where travel bans have been imposed.
"Our priority remains the health and welfare of our people and our passengers, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that they can be reunited with their friends and families during these difficult times."
"Ryanair is taking all actions necessary to cut operating expenses, and improve cash flows at each of our airlines," he continued.
"Ryanair is a resilient airline group, with a very strong balance sheet, substantial cash liquidity says; we can, and will, with appropriate and timely action, survive through a prolonged period of reduced or even zero flight schedules.
So that we are adequately prepared for the return to normality, which will come about sooner rather than later as EU Governments take unprecedented action to restrict the spread of Covid-19."
EasyJet has grounded 100 of their 344 aircraft while British Airways are cutting 75 per cent of flights in the next two months.
TUI has cancelled all package holidays, hotel bookings and flights due to the coronavirus pandemic as well.
Thousands of Brits have been stranded in Spain after the country imposed a 15-day state of emergency and flights were cancelled.