Covid lockdowns in Ireland, the UK and other European countries will “materially reduce” Ryanair flights and its traffic forecast for the first quarter of 2021.

The new cutbacks will trim the airline’s traffic forecast for the 12 months to March to between 26 million to 30 million from “below 35 million”.

Ryanair now expects January traffic to fall to under 1.25 million passengers.

New Covid restrictions could also reduce February and March numbers to as little as 500,000 passengers each month.

In response, Ryanair will “significantly” cut its schedules from January 21, with “few, if any, flights” being operated to and from Ireland or the UK from the end of the month “until such time as these draconian travel restrictions are removed”.

“All customers affected by these further flight cancellations and further travel restrictions will receive emails advising them of their entitlements of free moves and/or refunds later today,” the airline said.

“Ryanair does not expect these flight cuts and further traffic reductions will materially affect its net loss for the year to 31 March 2021 since many of these flights would have been loss making.”

The airline called on the Irish and UK governments to accelerate the slow pace of vaccine rollouts.

A spokesperson said: “Ireland’s Covid-19 travel restrictions are already the most stringent in Europe, and so these new flight restrictions are inexplicable and ineffective when Ireland continues to operate an open border between the Republic and the north of Ireland.

“Since Ireland’s third lockdown will not get rid of the Covid virus, there is an onus on the Irish government to accelerate the rollout of vaccines, and the fact that the Danish government, with a similar 5 million population, has already vaccinated 10 times more citizens than Ireland shows that emergency action is needed to speed Covid vaccinations in Ireland.

“Vaccinations rather than lockdowns is the way out of this Covid-19 crisis.”