Tuesday 6 April 2021 8:52 am

Ryanair and Wizz Air passenger numbers down again as year of pain continues

Ryanair flew just 0.5m people last month as travel restrictions continued to batter the airline industry as the worst year in its history came to an end.

Since last March, when the coronavirus began to spread through Europe, carriers have seen their schedules decimated, with passenger numbers plunging to a mere fraction of normal levels.

This March’s figures were 95 per cent down on the 10.5m people the Irish carrier flew in the same month a year ago.

On a rolling basis, it means that Ryanair has flown just 32.7m people over the last 12 months, down almost 80 per cent.

Fellow low-cost carrier Wizz Air also suffered in March, flying just 480,000 passengers, down 72.6 per cent from a year ago.

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Over the last 12 months the Hungarian carrier has flown 10.2m people, a quarter of the 40m it carried the prior year.

Despite the continued downturn, Wizz Air today announced yet another new base at Palermo in Italy, as well as a raft of new routes.

The figures come a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Brits that it was still too early to book overseas holidays.

According to the government’s official lockdown lifting roadmap, international travel is due to start again on 17 May, but it has subsequently cautioned that this may yet not be possible.

“Taking into account the latest situation with  variants and the evidence about the efficacy of vaccines against them, we will confirm in advance whether non-essential international travel can resume on 17 May, or whether we will need to wait longer before lifting the outbound travel  restriction,” the government said in an update.