Aer Lingus calls for clarity on relaxed travel restrictions

Aer Lingus calls for clarity on relaxed travel restrictions

Aer Lingus has called for more immediate clarity on the Government’s planned relaxation of travel restrictions; warning that jobs and inbound tourism depend on it.

While welcoming the plan to lift restrictions and the 14-day quarantine requirement for incoming passengers from July 9, Aer Lingus said the fact that no detail exists on which countries are involved and what criteria will be applied to their selection “totally undermines the initiative”.

“This further delay will be very damaging to the Irish economy and to jobs within it,” the airline said, “eliminating the prospect of any inbound tourist and business passengers for at least the month of July.” 

“The level of success in containing and controlling the spread of Covid-19 in European countries is equivalent to Ireland’s success. That is the case now and it should not take two more weeks to assess this,” Aer Lingus said.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said on Thursday that travel restrictions to and from a so-called “green list” of countries would be relaxed from July 9. He said countries on that list will be compiled by that date. Passengers from those countries will not have to be quarantined for 14-days upon arrival in Ireland.

Meanwhile, Ryanair has called on the EU to block a planned €3.4bn Dutch government bailout for KLM.

The planned support payment follows the French government announcing a €7bn bailout package for Air France, KLM's parent, in April. As part of the package, the Dutch government said it will appoint an observer to KLM’s board to ensure taxpayer money is spent only on the Dutch subsidiary, but won’t have control of the business.

Ryanair said the European Commission should block the “subsidy doping” to KLM, arguing that it will “further reduce competition and consumer choice in the Dutch and French markets”.

“Sixteen years after Air France’s takeover of KLM, every Dutch citizen now has to pay €200 each to prop-up Air France-KLM, while each French citizen will only pay a subsidy €100. This is a poor deal for the “trading nation”, which likes to lecture other EU countries about fiscal rules but has no problem breaking these rules when it comes to subsidising KLM,” said Ryanair group CEO Michael O’Leary.

In the UK, the Unite trade union has met with investors in IAG – which owns British Airways (BA) and Aer Lingus – in a bid to ramp up pressure against BA’s plans to cut 12,000 of its staff.

Unite is also lobbying for a change in UK laws to allow BA to be stripped of some valuable take-off and landing slots at London’s Heathrow Airport if the airline proceeds with its plans.

Meanwhile, US private equity group Bain Capital has agreed with the administrator of Virgin Australia to buy Australia’s second-biggest airline for an undisclosed sum, banking on an aviation industry recovery.

Airline stocks fell further amid lingering fears of a second Covid-19 wave and uncertainty around an initial industry recovery.

-additional reporting Reuters