Virus-hit Ryanair to restore 40% of flights starting July 2020

Agence France-Presse
Virus-hit Ryanair to restore 40% of flights starting July 2020
Ryanair says it will ensure that the flights comply 'with effective measures to limit the spread of COVID-19'

LONDON, United Kingdom – Ryanair plans to restore 40% of flights from July 1, the Irish low-cost carrier said on Tuesday, May 12, after running a skeleton service since mid-March as the coronavirus pandemic grounded planes worldwide.

The Dublin-based carrier “plans to return to 40% of normal flight schedules…subject to government restrictions on intra-EU flights being lifted, and effective public health measures being put in place at airports,” it said in a statement.

Ryanair added there would be “a daily flight schedule of almost 1,000 flights, restoring 90% of its pre-COVID-19 route network.”

Crew and passengers will wear face masks and have to pass temperature checks, while physical distancing at airports and on aircraft “will be encouraged,” it said.

Passengers will have to request to use onboard toilets, while cash will not be accepted to purchase food.

Since the middle of March, Ryanair has been operating only 30 flights per day between the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the rest of Europe.

“It is important for our customers and our people that we return to some normal schedules from 1 July,” said Ryanair chief executive Eddie Wilson, who sits under group head Michael O’Leary. 

“After 4 months, it is time to get Europe flying again so we can reunite friends and families, allow people to return to work, and restart Europe’s tourism industry, which provides so many millions of jobs,” Wilson added.

He said that Ryanair would “work closely with public health authorities to ensure that these flights comply, where possible, with effective measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.”

He added that as has been the case in Asia, “temperature checks and face masks/coverings are the most effective way to achieve this on short-haul” flights in Europe.

Wilson said the resumption of nearly half Ryanair’s flights schedule would “allow those tourism-based economies such as Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, France, and others, to recover what is left of this year’s tourism season.”

With air transport paralyzed by the coronavirus, Ryanair is cutting 3,000 pilot and cabin crew jobs, or 15% of staff, mirroring moves by airlines globally.

News of flights resuming comes after the UK, a significant market for Ryanair, revealed over the weekend that international arrivals will soon face a 14-day quarantine to stop new coronavirus infections. (READ: Virus-ravaged UK aviation sector faces quarantine woe)

O’Leary, speaking on Tuesday to British television network ITV, described the quarantine plan as “ineffective” but insisted “it is manageable.”

“What we now need is to take effective measures,” he added.

British Airways‘ owner International Airlines Group has meanwhile warned that pre-crisis passenger demand would not return until 2023 at the earliest. – Rappler.com

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