The EU digital travel certificate is working well and will gradually become part of the travel experience like presenting a passport, Ryanair chief executive Eddie Wilson has said.
From Monday, restrictions on non-essential foreign travel have been lifted, meaning passengers are able to take holidays abroad, visit relatives overseas, or travel for other such reasons.
The lion’s share of passengers were vaccinated, Mr Wilson told RTÉ radio’s News at One and he predicted that travel would shortly return to “some level of normality”.
Bookings were very strong, he added, as travel was returning to normal throughout Europe and in the US.
“The real issue for the Government is this winter, there is going to be less capacity this winter. People are going to wake up and say, ‘why do we have less connections?’ Inward tourism is vital for jobs,” he said.
It was important for carriers to be able to bring people into the country. Mr Wilson called on the Minister for Tourism Eamon Ryan to implement the Aviation Task Force report as there were much more affordable airports elsewhere in Europe and in other countries governments had “bailed out” their airlines.
“We’re not going to get that traffic back,” he said.
The country manager for Emirates airline, Enda Corneille told RTÉ that they too were experiencing high levels of bookings. The digital travel cert was working well and anything that gets people flying will be good for all airlines, he said.
“Travel will become a badge of honour. It will go from a trickle of demand to a tsunami. We’re already seeing strong bookings for the rest of year and especially at Christmas,” he added.
However, he acknowledged that some of the destinations served by Emirates were still on the red list for travel.
Emirates is taking a gradual approach, he said. Government support would be good to help, but it would “not keep the lights on”.