The largest European airline by number of passengers, Ryanair, will depend on the ‘green list’ of tourist destinations prepared by the Government of Boris Johnson in order to regain his reign in Spain. This list, which includes a total of twelve countries to which the United Kingdom facilitates travel from this week, includes neighbors such as Portugal or Gibraltar, but leave out for now our country, France or Greece. This implies that the British who choose to travel to these last destinations will have to keep a quarantine of 10 days when returning to their country.
Since 2011, the airline had been continuously leading the Spanish market. Also in the midst of the collapse of air transport in 2020. However, the latest data provided by the manager of Spanish airports, Aena, confirm that between January and April the irish firm has fallen from the first to the sixth position among the companies that have transported the most passengers to Spain. Thus, of the total number of travelers who arrived at the national airport network in the first four months of the year, 928,803 opted for the ‘low cost’ company. This figure implies that Ryanair has reduced its market share to 7.79% from the 15% it represented in the year prior to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
After announcing the first red numbers in its history due to the effect of the coronavirus crisis (with a red number of 815 million euros in its fiscal year, which runs from March to March, compared to the benefits of 1,002 million it obtained in the previous year), its manager, Michael O’Leary, has trusted that Greece and Spain – which had been its main market until now – will soon join the British ‘green list’.
“The reserves are returning in very strong volumes to Portugal, Greece and Spain”, has assured during the presentation of the annual accounts to the analysts, at the same time that it has ruled out that Athens and Madrid will remain for much longer on the ‘amber’ list (the one that forces them to confine themselves when returning to the United Kingdom). “People are looking beyond the short-term news. Will come [a Grecia y España] in June, July and August “, he has settled. Furthermore, the CEO has been blunt in his forecast:” We expect Greece to join the green list at the end of May. Spain will be a little behind, but it will be added from June “.
It is not surprising that O’Leary refers to Spain, given the weight that trips to our country have been having on the group’s accounts. Getting as close as possible to the pre-pandemic figures will be key to meeting the guide that the company maintains for the current fiscal year in a situation still marked by uncertainty. Facing this new fiscal year, it foresees that it could transport between 80 and 120 million passengers, despite the fact that in its first quarter -which runs from April to June- it will barely register a traffic of around five or six million.
Heathrow CEO also targets Spain
Those responsible for Ryanair are not the only ones who send messages to the Government of Boris Johnson about the need to open the range of countries to which it is possible to travel without restrictions of any kind, especially now that the vaccination process is picking up pace in All Europe. Perhaps the most forceful to date has been the CEO of Heathrow, the largest airport on the islands that is owned by the Spanish Ferrovial. John Holland-Kaye, warned this Monday that 500,000 jobs related to the tourism sector could be put at risk if the ‘Tory’ Executive does not expand its “green list” this summer.
Thus, he not only urges the Government of his country to give British industry and tourists the “confidence” that they will be able to fly to the main European destinations this year, but also specifically recalls that “holiday hot spots” for your compatriots like Spain, France and Greece they remain on the Amber List. Therefore, he has urged Downing Street to lift the restrictions for the three countries before the summer season starts.
The United Kingdom has been the main source of tourists to our country over the last few years. The situation changed last year as a result of the restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the virus. However, according to the Survey of Tourist Movements on the Border (Frontur), prepared by the INE, the British managed to remain as the second market of origin with a total of 3,173,861 travelers, only behind the 3,877,619 of French who visited us.