Ryanair may cut all flights from the UK and Ireland from the end of January as it blasted governments in both countries for their ‘draconian’ approach to Covid.

The drastic warning came as the budget carrier said the new lockdowns will see January traffic fall to under 1.25 million passengers, and plummet further to 500,000 in February and March.

The airline said it will ‘significantly’ cut its number of flights from 21 January and will operate ‘few, if any flights to/from Ireland or the UK from the end of January until such time as these draconian travel restrictions are removed’.

Ryanair called on the UK and Ireland governments to accelerate the pace of the vaccine roll out.

It cited the example of Denmark which it said had vaccinated 40,000 people by 6 January while Ireland had vaccinated just 4,000.

The fresh cuts in flights will reduce traffic forecasts from ‘below 35m’ to between 26m and 30m passengers.

Ryanair said in a statement that vaccinations, rather than lockdowns, were the way out of the crisis.

“The WHO have previously confirmed that Governments should do everything possible to avoid brutal lockdowns, because lockdowns “do not get rid of the virus”,” 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.

NPHET (Ireland’s Public Health Team), which we believe has mismanaged many aspects of Ireland’s Covid response (face masks, test & trace, international travel, care homes and meat factories), should now release a daily report of the number of vaccines administered in Ireland, and explain why they continue to run behind the vaccination rates of other similar sized EU countries.

Vaccinations rather than lockdowns is the way out of this Covid-19 crisis, and the sooner NPHET takes action to accelerate Ireland’s vaccine rollout speed, the better.”