RYANAIR has warned of huge flight delays and problems in the next few months due to lockdowns in Europe.
Many countries are facing a spike in Covid cases, including Austria, Germany and the Netherlands.
Austria has gone back into lockdown and has banned all tourists visiting the country until at least December 13.
German health minister Jens Spahn warned his country could follow Austria and go into a full lockdown in the next few days as they also battle spiralling cases, while the Netherlands is currently battling a number of riots after the country went back into lockdown.
Five Italian governors are threatening a lockdown on Italy’s unvaccinated population after the country clocked a 28 per cent jump in new infections on Thursday.
And Slovakian prime minister Eduard Heger signalled he was prepared to introduce harsher Covid restrictions if cases don’t begin to drop soon in the next three weeks.
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has now warned anyone travelling this Christmas to expect disruptions.
He said: “Up until last weekend, things were going great. Volumes were back running at about 100% of our pre-COVID price volumes.
“It has been disrupted by the Austrian lockdown and there is a renewed concern across Europe about a fourth or firth wave of COVID.”
He continued: “I think we’re in for a fraught period between now and Christmas where it looks like Europe is going to get very nervous again at the worst time of the year when people are making their Christmas travel plans.
“I think it’s inevitable we will undermine confidence between now and Christmas, and that will disrupt Christmas and also unsettle people between Christmas and New Year when they would normally start booking their summer holidays.”
O’Leary said earlier this month that while winter would be tough, he hoped that keeping prices low and passenger numbers high over that period would set Europe’s largest low cost airline up for a very strong recovery in the summer of 2022.
He reiterated on Tuesday that it was inevitable air fares will increase into the summer of 2022 and the Irish carrier hoped to get back to pre-pandemic pricing levels.
Jet2 has already cancelled holidays to Austria until at least December 1.
The tour operator announced the cancellations yesterday, and warned this could be extended.