O’Leary calls on Government to reopen UK travel immediately

Ryanair dismisses public health ‘scare stories’ about Indian variant

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary: “It is time for Micheál Martin’s Government to introduce an emergency rescue plan for Irish aviation and tourism”

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary: “It is time for Micheál Martin’s Government to introduce an emergency rescue plan for Irish aviation and tourism”

 

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary called on the Government to axe Covid-19 hotel quarantines and immediately reopen travel with the UK.

The airline chief accused the Government of doing untold damage to Irish aviation ahead of Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s scheduled announcement of plans to reopen travel on Friday.

Ryanair dismissed “scare stories promulgated by the National Public Health Emergency Team” about the Indian variant of Covid, arguing that the evidence shows it is not resistant to vaccines.

“It is time for Micheál Martin’s Government to introduce an emergency rescue plan for Irish aviation and tourism,” said Mr O’Leary.

He warned that staycations may fill some hotels in the south and west, but would not fill them in Dublin or support tourism once schools return in September.

Mr O’Leary claimed Eamon Ryan, the Minister for Transport, has no plan, policy or commitment to aviation.

Ireland is an island on the periphery of Europe yet our Transport Minister has sat on an aviation recovery plan since July 2020, but taken no action at all.”

Ryanair joined calls to reopen the Republic’s common travel area with the UK from next Tuesday, June 1st, pointing out that restrictions were untenable as people could drive over the Border.

Visitors

The company noted that EU nations, including Portugal and Spain, had removed restrictions on visitors from the UK, where three out of four adults are now at least partially vaccinated against Covid-19.

Visitors flying into the Republic from the UK must self-isolate for 14 days. Those from countries including the US and EU members, Belgium, France and Luxembourg, are subject to mandatory hotel quarantines.

Ryanair wants the Government to announce that from July 1st, inbound and outbound travel from all EU states will no longer be subject to Covid restrictions or hotel quarantines.

The airline’s calls follow similar demands from groups including tourist bodies and aviation unions, which want to see early adoption of the EU digital Covid passport, meant to restore freedom of travel in the bloc this summer, and reopening of UK and US travel.

Aer Lingus last week said it would close its Shannon Airport base, putting 126 jobs at risk, while the airline confirmed it would lay off staff at Cork between September and late November.

Mr O’Leary said that Mr Ryan had taken no action even as airlines were closing bases in the Republic and shifting aircraft and jobs overseas.

Moving aircraft

Last week he told industry analysts that Ryanair, which expects to hit 60 per cent of pre-Covid traffic in July, would not be moving aircraft it has shifted out of the Republic back this year.

Aer Lingus plans to launch flights from Manchester to US destinations, including Boston and Florida, this summer using jets originally earmarked for Irish airports.

“Since our Minister for Transport is incapable or unwilling to act, Micheál Martin and [Tánaiste] Leo Varadkar must now take charge and reopen Ireland from the UK from Tuesday, June 1st next, and to/from the EU from Thursday, July 1st next,” said Mr O’Leary.