Ryanair has announced that 40 per cent of its normal flight schedules will be restored from July 1, making 90 per cent of its route network active again.
It said it hopes to introduce a daily flight schedule of almost 1,000 flights, compared to the current 30. The Irish budget carrier said that all crew will wear face masks/coverings in-flight and that passengers will have to follow suit.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, however, said today that ‘summer was cancelled’.
Ryanair has announced that 40 per cent of its normal flight schedules will be restored from July 1, making 90 per cent of its route network active again. The Irish budget carrier said that all crew will wear face masks/coverings in-flight and that passengers will have to follow suit
Skeleton schedule: The routes available with Ryanair up until May 28
A new ‘Healthy Flying’ notice on the Ryanair homepage tells passengers to check-in online, download boarding passes to their smartphones and ‘wear a face mask/covering at all times, both in the airport and onboard your flight’.
It also encourages fliers to check their temperature before travelling.
‘It may be checked again at the airport,’ the site says. ‘If you do not pass this, you will be asked to return home.’
The airline has added in a statement that fewer checked bags will be processed and that a ‘limited inflight service will be offered of pre-packaged snacks and drinks, but no cash sales’.
It continued: ‘All onboard transactions will be cashless. Queuing for toilets will be prohibited onboard although toilet access will be made available to individual passengers upon request. Ryanair encourages passengers to regularly hand wash and use hand sanitizers in airport terminals.
‘As a temporary further public health measure, while EU states emerge from their respective Covid-19 lockdowns, Ryanair will require all passengers flying in July and August to fill in details (at the point of check-in) of how long their planned visit will be, and also their address while visiting another EU country.
‘This contact information will be provided to EU governments to help them to monitor any isolation regulations they require of visitors on intra-EU flights.’
Since the Covid-19 flight restrictions in mid-March, Ryanair has been operating a skeleton daily schedule of 30 flights between Ireland, the UK and Europe
RYANAIR ROUTES FROM JULY 1
Ryanair routes available from July 1 will include…
Dublin to Madrid
Dublin to Malaga
Dublin to Barcelona
Dublin to Nice
Dublin to Alicante
Dublin to Pisa
Dublin to Bari
Dublin to Santander
Dublin to Bordeaux
Dublin to Bologna
Dublin to Palermo
Dublin to Palma de Mallorca
It added: ‘All Ryanair aircraft are fitted with HEPA air filters (similar to those used in critical hospital wards) and all aircraft interior surfaces are disinfected every night with chemicals, which are effective for over 24 hours. While temperature checks and face masks/coverings are the cornerstone of this healthy return to service, social distancing at airports and onboard aircraft will be encouraged where it is possible.’
Ryanair stressed that this plan to return some normality to its schedules will be subject to government restrictions on intra-EU flights being lifted.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, however, has warned that people are unlikely to be able to go on foreign holidays this summer, despite Ryanair’s announcement.
Asked whether ‘summer was cancelled’, Mr Hancock told ITV’s This Morning: ‘I think that’s likely to be the case.’
He added: ‘It is unlikely that big, lavish international holidays are going to be possible for this summer.
‘I just think that’s a reality of life.’
Since the Covid-19 flight restrictions in mid-March, Ryanair has been operating a skeleton daily schedule of 30 flights between Ireland, the UK and Europe.
From July, Ryanair will restart flying from most of its 80 bases across Europe. There will be fewer daily/weekly frequencies on trunk routes, as Ryanair ‘works to restore some services on the widest number of routes, rather than operating high frequency services on a small number’.
Ryanair’s CEO, Eddie Wilson, said: ‘It is important for our customers and our people that we return to some normal schedules from July 1 onwards. Governments around Europe have implemented a four-month lockdown to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus. After four months, it is time to get Europe flying again so we can reunite friends and families, allow people to return to work, and restart Europe’s tourism industry, which provides so many millions of jobs.
‘Ryanair will work closely with public health authorities to ensure that these flights comply, where possible, with effective measures to limit the spread of Covid-19. As already shown in Asia, temperature checks and face masks/coverings are the most effective way to achieve this on short-haul (one hour) flights within Europe’s single market.
‘Now that Europe’s states are allowing some gradual return to normal life, we expect this will evolve over the coming weeks and months. With more than six weeks to go to July 1, Ryanair believes this is the most practical date to resume normal flight schedules, so that we can allow friends and families to reunite, commuters to go back to work, and allow those tourism-based economies such as Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, France and others, to recover what is left of this year’s tourism season.
‘Seats on all these flights are now on sale at www.Ryanair.com, at prices which start from just €19.99 one way. We will continue to work closely with public health agencies to encourage our people and passengers to adopt practical and effective steps to limit the spread of Covid-19 virus, in the best interest of our passengers, our people and our communities.’
A ‘Healthy Flying’ notice on the Ryanair homepage tells passengers to check-in online, download boarding passes to their smartphones and ‘wear a face mask/covering at all times, both in the airport and onboard your flight’
THE WHICH? RESPONSE TO RYANAIR’S ANNOUNCEMENT
Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel, said: ‘With the government set to introduce quarantine rules for passengers entering the country, expanding flight schedules now is likely to leave many families, who booked summer holidays months ago, with expensive flights they can’t take and no way to get their money back.
‘Even if these flights are ultimately cancelled because the government does not lift its advice against foreign travel, customers face a fight for their money from an airline that has already been breaking the law by delaying refunds for customers.
‘The aviation regulator and government must stand up for passengers’ rights and start taking action against any airlines that are flouting the law around refunds.’
Ryanair’s announcement comes a day after the head of the owner of British Airways said the company will need to review its plans to resume flights after the Prime Minister proposed quarantining people flying into the UK.
In an address to the nation on Sunday, Boris Johnson said it will ‘soon be the time’ to bring in a quarantine period for air passengers to stave off Covid-19 infections from abroad.
Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA’s parent company, International Airlines Group, said there was ‘nothing positive’ in the address.
Giving evidence to the Commons Transport Select Committee on Monday about the demand for air travel, Mr Walsh said: ‘The announcements yesterday of a 14-day period (for people) coming into the UK, it’s definitely going to make it worse.
‘There’s nothing positive in anything that I heard the Prime Minister say yesterday.
‘We had been planning to resume – on a pretty significant basis – our flying in July.
‘I think we’d have to review that based on what the Prime Minister said yesterday.’
Mr Walsh told the committee that British Airways’ capacity to operate will be ‘pretty minimal’ in the event of an imposed quarantine.
He added: ‘Despite the fact that there had been some rumours about this quarantine period, I don’t think anybody believed that the UK Government would actually implement it if they were serious about getting the economy moving again.’
The Prime Minister proposed the quarantine in the address on Sunday and said it would be effective due to a decrease in the number of infections in the UK.
Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA’s parent company, International Airlines Group, said there was ‘nothing positive’ in Boris Johnson’s Sunday address
Addressing the nation on Sunday night, Mr Johnson said: ‘To prevent reinfection from abroad, I am serving notice that it will soon be the time, with transmission significantly lower, to impose quarantine on people coming into this country by air.’
Mr Walsh told the committee that the two-week quarantine for air passengers was a ‘surprise’ as similar quarantines are not in place for other forms of international travel.
He said: ‘I don’t understand that but maybe the Prime Minister will be able to clarify the science behind that. It seems strange to me.’
Mr Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron have agreed that quarantine measures would not apply between France and the UK ‘at this stage’, according to a joint statement issued after the address.
The Prime Minister did not mention arrivals by sea, and did not make clear whether it would include passengers on internal UK flights or on flights from the Republic of Ireland.
However, the Times has previously reported that travellers from Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man will be exempt from the quarantine.
Airlines UK said it had been told by the Government that a quarantine arrangement will be in place by the end of the month or early June.
A Government official said quarantine is ‘a few weeks away from happening yet’, adding: ‘What the scientific advice tells you is that when domestic transmission is high, imported cases represent a small amount of the overall total and make no significant difference to the epidemic.
‘However, this can change when the domestic transmission rate of infection is low and people are arriving from countries with a higher rate of infection.’
The official said industry and business will be listened to but the ‘purpose is to stop disease being imported into the UK’.