Ryanair said it will cut its October capacity by a further 20% and warned it may have to do the same for the rest of the winter unless European Union governments ease their Covid-19 travel restrictions.
The airline said it will now operate at 40% of its October 2019 levels, but expects to maintain a 70% load factor at the reduced schedule.
"While it is too early yet to make final decisions on our winter schedule, if current trends and EU Governments’ mismanagement of the return of air travel and normal economic activity continue, then similar capacity cuts may be required across the winter period."
Ryanair wants the Government to immediately adopt the EU traffic light system which would allow the public travel to a wider range of countries without having to restrict their movement on their return.
Airlines across Europe have blamed an uneven patchwork of travel restrictions and quarantine rules for a stop-go recovery that has proven tougher than many expected.
Ahead of the latest cuts, Michael O'Leary said last week said that he expected to fly about 50 million passengers in the financial year to March, one third of the previous year's volume.
The airline operated capacity of about 67 million seats last winter and a 60% cut would leave its capacity around 27 million in the final six months of the current financial year, which ends on March 31.
O'Leary said this week that their the closure of their bases in Cork and Shannon airports was 'highly likely'.
Fergal Harte, Chairperson of the Cork branch of the Irish Hotels Federation said they are hugely concerned about the proposed Ryanair base closure at Cork.
“As a gateway to the region, Cork airport is a key component of our tourism infrastructure. Pre-Covid, tourism supported 25,300 jobs in Cork and contributed €895 million to the local economy," he said.
“Tourism in Cork and the wider region has enormous potential. It can and will recover, but it requires a fully operational airport with regular connections to our key markets. I appeal to Government to give this issue urgent attention to ensure that Cork Airport is provided with the policy and financial supports required to address the Ryanair situation and safeguard its future.”