The two largest low-cost carriers in Europe have opted for very different fleet operating strategies to help them ride out the industry crisis, as passenger demand collapses once again in the face of a second wave of Covid-19 infections and associated travel restrictions to curb the spread.
Research from Cirium comparing daily fleet activity for the past 90 days shows how easyJet placed aircraft in storage to reduce capacity.
However, Ryanair has continued to fly most of its Boeing 737s at least once every seven days, but fewer hours per day on average per aircraft.
easyJet had 338 Airbus A320 Family aircraft in its fleet as of January 19th of which Cirium identified 193 – or 57 per cent – as being in storage.
By contrast, all but seven of Ryanair’s 262 Boeing 737NGs remained in service.
According to Cirium’s tracking sources, easyJet flew fewer than 50 commercial flight hours on January 19th, while Ryanair recorded a little more than 100.
easyJet flew over 94 per cent fewer flight hours in the seven days prior to January 19th compared with the same week a in 2020, while Ryanair’s year-over-year decline was just over 89 per cent.
Despite the extremely challenging short-term demand outlook, both easyJet and Ryanair have reported strong forward bookings for summer 2021 and beyond as consumer confidence to travel gradually increases with the roll-outs of multiple vaccines across Europe.