DUBLIN, June 3 (Xinhua) -- Europe's largest budget airline Ryanair said on Wednesday that its passenger numbers in May went down by 99.5 percent to a meager 70,000 compared with 14.1 million passengers it carried in the same month of last year.
In May, Ryanair operated only 701 flights, including a number of flights conducted for rescue and medical purposes, according to a statement issued by the airline.
Ryanair expects minimal traffic in June, the statement noted.
Ryanair's business went normal until March when more and more European countries imposed flight bans and restrictions to curb the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in the region.
In February, Ryanair handled 10.5 million passengers, up 9 percent over a year ago. By March, however, the figure was almost halved to 5.7 million,
In April, the airline's passenger numbers further shrank to a meager 40,000, a 99.6 percent drop when compared with a year ago.
Ryanair has decided to resume 40 percent of its flights starting from July 1.
The airline predicts that its passenger numbers for the current fiscal year which will end on March 31, 2021 will be less than 100 million, 35 percent short of its originally planned target of 155 million.
Due to its shrinking business, Ryanair has announced to lay off 3,000 employees and cut its employees' pay by 20 percent.
Earlier last month the company announced that it had laid off over 250 people working at its bases in Ireland, Britain, Spain and Poland.
Headquartered in Ireland, Ryanair boasts a workforce of around 19,000 people. The airline mainly operates flight services in Europe and parts of North Africa.