(Adds quotes from CEO Wilson, context, details)
MADRID/ROME, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Britain is lagging the
aviation recovery in the rest of Europe due to confusing
COVID-19 restrictions and its airports will struggle in the
coming winter, Ryanair executives said on Tuesday.
"Most European markets are recuperating ... the exception is
the UK (where) there's this continued confusion," Eddie Wilson,
CEO of Ryanair DAC, Ryanair Group's largest airline, told
Reuters. "Its going to be a difficult winter for us - were
stimulating (passenger numbers) with lower fares."
While it would not be difficult to reach high passenger
volumes over Christmas in Europe, British airports would likely
struggle over the period, Ryanair Group CEO Michael O'Leary told
reporters in a separate event in Rome on Wednesday.
"Places like Heathrow and Gatwick (are) struggling with ...
Brexit border controls and COVID," O'Leary noted.
Both executives referenced travel debacles this summer when
the UK abruptly changed the risk classifications of destinations
thousands of Britons were holidaying in, causing frustration and
anger amongst tourists forced to book expensive diagnostic tests
and undergo lengthy quarantines.
"People remember what happened in Portugal, and more
recently Montenegro," Wilson said. "They need certainty and
we've seen bookings reflect almost exactly people's level of
The Ireland-based low-cost airline announced on Monday that
talks with aircraft supplier Boeing over an order of MAX
737 planes worth billions had failed, with O'Leary saying he
would wait up to 10 years for a downturn and the right prices.
(Reporting by Clara-Laeila Laudette and Conor Humphries
Editing by Inti Landauro and Mark Potter)