Ryanair: Ireland is not going to be 'some covid free Tír na Nóg'

Additional reporting by Press Association and Digital Desk Staff

The CEO of Ryanair is calling for overseas travel to be allowed, saying Ireland is not going to be "some covid free Tír na Nóg."

40% of the budget airline's schedule has resumed this morning with more than 1,000 flights taking to the sky across Europe.

The Chief Medical Officer has adviced people not to go on foreign holidays, over concerns it may result in a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson believes Tony Holohan is wrong and that a blanket ban is not going to work and is "completely disproportionate."

Mr Wilson says: "A blanket ban saying somehow or other we are going to be some covid free Tír na Nóg isn't going to work".

The Ryanair CEO says the government needs to “get the balance right” between public health and business.

Ireland was the only country “out of step” with the rest of Europe, he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

At some stage the country was going to have to get back to normal, it was not possible to have restrictions open ended “forever.”

Every other country in Europe has returned to flying in keeping with European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) guidelines, he added.

Ryanair will have 1,000 flights today adhering to ECDC guidelines and the return to the skies is not just for tourism but also for business. Mr Wilson said that the idea that tourists were going to act in an irresponsible way was simply not the case.

The idea that Covid just comes from abroad, was not accurate, he said. “People will not lose their heads because they are on holidays. People are going to do it (holiday) sensibly."

Passengers who did not fly because of the public health recommendations will not receive a refund, he said. Those who had their flights cancelled and opted for a cash refund will get their cash back.

To date Ryanair has gotten through almost 50% of the backlog of refunds. Mr Wilson pointed out that 30m passengers were discommoded at that time and it is taking time to get through the backlog.

“We’re back in the air because we want to fly, we want to get back to normal.”

Mr Wilson said that 100,000 people depended on tourism and it was important to get the sector back up and running.

The government needed to show leadership and get the balance right, he said.

Ryanair to increase flight numbers from Wednesday in coronavirus recovery bid

Airlines are ramping up their flight schedules from Wednesday in a bid to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 1,000 flights per day will be operated by Ryanair, which has run a skeleton schedule since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It is restoring almost 90% of its route network but frequencies will be lower than normal, with just 40% of its normal July capacity.

Ryanair Group’s chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “We expect in July to carry more than 4.5 million customers, many of them families taking well earned Mediterranean holidays after the severe challenges of the Covid-19 lockdown, home schooling, etc.

“These 1,000 daily flights mark an important turning point for Ryanair and for the tourism industry of Europe, which supports so many jobs and small businesses.”

Meanwhile, UK based carrier EasyJet will run around 500 flights each day across Europe, including more than 900 a week to and from the UK.

It restarted a small number of flights on June 15 after all its aircraft were grounded in March.

Both airlines require passengers to wear face masks or face coverings as part of enhanced safety and hygiene measures.

British Airways has also said it will make a “meaningful return” to service this month.

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