The Irish budget airline Ryanair has announced a loss of €185 million for the first quarter of 2020, which included an almost total grounding of air traffic due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The airline said that traffic fell 99% during Q1, and that it expects a smaller loss in Q2 as it continues to increase its flying schedule. Travel restrictions led to a collapse in the number of travellers, with 500,000 passengers in Q1 compared with 41.9 million in Q1 of last year.

“It is impossible to predict how long the Covid-19 pandemic will persist”, the company said, adding that “a second wave of Covid-19 cases across Europe in late autumn is our biggest fear right now”.

The carrier also said it expects air travel to be depressed in Europe for the next 2 to 3 years.

The United Kingdom imposed a 14-day quarantine on travelers arriving from Spain, Norway ordered a 10-day quarantine for people returning from the entire Iberian peninsula, and France urged its citizens not to visit Spain’s Catalonia region.

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said the British quarantine was “a badly managed overreaction” and that the airline is not planning to reduce flying capacity to Spain.

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