Ryan raises suspicions State may back off from fully applying EU air travel system
Ryanair chief says moving to ‘traffic light’ system crucial for Cork and Shannon airports
Ryanair chief executive, Eddie Wilson, said he was disappointed at the Minister’s remarks. Photograph: Garrett White
They may have fallen out in the media, but the Government still looks unwilling to stray far from the National Public Health Emergency Team’s advice when it comes to travel. The guidelines, which ask anyone arriving here from a country not on the State’s green list to restrict their movements for two weeks, have left the aviation and tourism sectors frustrated beyond words.
Eamon Ryan, Minister for Transport, confirmed to the Oireachtas Transport Committee on Wednesday that the Government would adopt the EU’s proposed Covid-19 air travel system, meant to do away with quarantines, once it is implemented next week.
However, he added the caveat that public health remained devolved to member states, indicating that adoption might not be as wholehearted as the industry hopes.
The EU’s “traffic light” system grades regions in the bloc as green, amber or red, according to the risk of infection in each. Core to it is the principle that those from lower risk green and orange areas can move freely. Those from red locations may need tests confirming they are virus-free to do the same.
So far, so simple, but the Minister’s references to autonomy on public health raised suspicions that that the Republic could back off from applying this fully. Ryanair chief executive, Eddie Wilson, said he was disappointed at the Minister’s remarks.
He added that he was not optimistic for the prospects of the airline’s bases at Cork and Shannon airports, which the carrier has said may have to close for the winter if the new system is not adopted.
At the same time, it looks like the Government will drop all the EU27 nations from its green list, which it will publish today and apply from Monday. Trade with these countries will become more important to Irish people’s livelihoods after the UK leaves the bloc in 12 weeks’ time. Cutting all of them from our safe travel list hardly ranks as a smart move.