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Ryanair cuts September, October capacity by 20% on weak bookings

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DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ryanair RYA.I will reduce its flight capacity by a further 20% during September and October after a reimposition of some travel restrictions led to a notable weakness in forward bookings over the last 10 days, the Irish airline said on Monday.

Ryanair, which last month cut its passenger target to 60 million for the financial year to March 2021, from the 80 million it had forecast in May, said a recent upsurge of COVID-19 cases in some European countries had particularly impacted business bookings.

Ryanair shares, which had rallied in recent sessions to their highest since early June, fell 4.4% to 11.22 euros by 1220 GMT.

The airline said cuts will be heavily focused on France, Spain Ireland and Sweden, and would mostly involve frequency reductions rather than route closures. It had increased flights to 60% of its normal schedule this month after resuming services in July.

Europe’s biggest budget airline said last month it expected to run around 70% of last year’s schedule between October and March.

Increased travel restrictions have hit air traffic to Spain and France in recent weeks, while Ireland only allows unencumbered travel to 10 European countries, a policy Ryanair criticised again as “uniquely restrictive” on Monday.

Ryanair said impacted passengers will be advised of their options.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Jason Neely and David Holmes

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