Ryanair’s (RYA.L) UK customers who had planned to go on holiday in November will likely not be able to do so due to a lockdown beginning this week, and the airline has said they will not be eligible for a refund either.
The UK government has banned all travel not deemed essential under the new rules, but Ryanair does not intend to cancel any flights. It said as per law it only offers refunds in case of cancellation.
Passengers who had plans to travel for non-essential reasons will be able to change to a later flight without paying a fee.
Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary told BBC's Today programme: "If a flight is operating then no, we will not be offering refunds. But what customers can avail of is our change facility and we've waived the change fee so if they have booking in November they can change it and move it to December or January if needs be.”
He also said that Ryanair had paid all refunds to customers who had requested one following disruption to air travel earlier this year.
"We have refunded every single customer who has requested a refund… from March, April, May, June and July. Every customer who has requested a cash refund from Ryanair has now received it."
If a flight is cancelled, customers are entitled to a full refund. They can choose to accept vouchers or a rebooking in its place.
UK prime minister Boris Johnson said last week that non-essential shops and hospitality will have to close, and travel will be under new restrictions, from Thursday and until 2 December.
Earlier, Ryanair posted its first losses over the summer in decades, as passenger numbers plummeted amid the pandemic.
The company’s shares slid on Monday as it revealed a first-half loss of €197m (£178m, $229m). It had made €1.15bn profit a year earlier. Revenue nosedived by 78% to €1.18bn.
O’Leary used the publication of its half-year report to attack on the UK government over its handling of the pandemic.
Ryanair’s results highlighted their fading fortunes since European governments began tightening restrictions in September, which “heavily curtailed travel to/from much of central Europe, the UK, Ireland, Austria, Belgium and Portugal.”
Meanwhile, Britain's easyJet (EZJ.L) said the date of its full-year results was not confirmed. It had earlier said they would be published 17 November as new lockdowns across Europe hit the travel industry hard.
Just last week it was reported the owner of British Airways, International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG.L), nosedived to a €6.2bn (£5.6bn, $7.2bn) pre-tax loss for the first nine months of the year, compared with a profit of €2.3bn a year ago. And Air France-KLM (AF.PA) reported a €1.05bn ($1.2bn, £945m) quarterly operating loss and warned of worse to come as amid tougher COVID-19 travel restrictions.