‘It’s safe to fly’, EU aviation safety boss says

Comments support Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary call for loosening on restrictions

EU air safety agency chief Patrick Ky has backed Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary’s statement that it is now safe to fly. Photograph:  Niall Carson/PA Wire

EU air safety agency chief Patrick Ky has backed Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary’s statement that it is now safe to fly. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

The executive director of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Patrick Ky has backed Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary’s statement that it is now safe to fly.

Mr O’Leary cited protocols for the return of flights drawn up by EASA and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in attacking the Government’s new quarantine rules earlier this week.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Sarah McInerney show, Mr Ky said that, while prevention could not be 100 per cent guaranteed, “people can go back flying,” if specific measures were implemented. “We believe that it is safe to fly if these measures are implemented.”

The measures include the wearing of masks at all times, a reduced food and drink service, no hot food, physical distancing measures where possible along with hand hygiene and air filtration.

He said said that families travelling together should be able to sit together, but that other passengers should be seated as far apart as possible.

However, he acknowledged that there will be “full rows of strangers” sitting next to each other. He said that the risk would be reduced as they would not be sitting face-to-face, there will be face masks and there will be cabin air exchange.

Anyone who suspects they may be ill should not travel, he added. “We believe that it is safe to take flights, but if you have any suspicion of being sick, or if you have been in contact with someone who might have been sick, please don’t travel.

“If you are not sick, we can reasonably guarantee, but not 100 per cent, that you will not get the disease on board an aircraft or in an airport. But if you are sick, we would like to prevent you from flying.”

Mr Ky said he was optimistic that in Europe “or at least in the Schengen area”, which excludes Britain and Ireland, it would soon be possible for people to fly for their summer holidays.