Ryanair has reduced its annual passenger target by 10 million as it expects the winter market to be a “write-off”.

Chief executive Michael O’Leary told Reuters that Europe’s largest carrier was expecting 50 million passengers in the year up to the end of March 2021, down from its July target of 60 million and May’s forecast of 80 million.

“We are guiding now for about 50 million passengers for the full year to the end of March,” O’Leary, told Reuters. “I think the winter of 2020 will essentially be a write-off.”

O’Leary said he expects to operate at about 5 million passengers per month through the winter, with pricing set to be “aggressively down” to entice travellers.

He said Ryanair was looking at closing more bases and withdrawing capacity from countries that do not have the coronavirus pandemic under control.

Addressing the issue of quarantine, imposed in the UK, Ireland, Spain and Portugal, O’Leary dubbed the restrictions “completely effective and non-scientific”

But O’Leary remained confident Ryanair will come out of the crisis in better shape than other airlines. He added: “Our rivals have withdrawn huge amounts of capacity. The competitive landscape, if anything, is getting easier.”