Ryanair says it had to fly an empty jet from Paris due to quarantine rules


Covid quarantine rules forced Ryanair to fly an empty plane from Paris to Dublin last week, the group revealed, calling for the restrictions to be lifted.

The government is forcing passengers from countries like Austria, Belgium, France and Italy to quarantine in hotels for two weeks, a rule that has drawn criticism from the EU.

Ryanair on Friday called on Taoiseach Micheál Martin to ditch the controversial sidewalk and launch plans to reopen the Republic in time for the summer vacation.

Eddie Wilson, chief executive of the group’s largest airline, Ryanair DAC, revealed the rule required the carrier to fly an empty plane from Paris to Dublin last week. He explained that the “few passengers” who showed up for the flight could not fly because they had not booked quarantine hotels.

“It was at the same time that the Minister of Health was criticizing the airlines for not doing their job,” Wilson added. “We don’t just do our job, we get criticized for it.”

He warned that if the government did not start planning to reopen for travel to Europe, Ryanair and other airlines would simply move planes from the Republic to other countries. This would cut the state’s ties with the rest of the EU, as there will be a limited number of planes flying in the region as the Covid crisis recedes.

“This ability will just disappear,” Wilson predicted. “There will be a reduction of at least 30 percent in intra-European capacity as we come out of it.

“We have just opened a base in Zagreb, our first there, because they are aware that there will be less capacity.”

Mr Wilson said Ryanair was also in talks with Sicily, Paris Beauvais airport and others across Europe who were anxious to secure planes in preparation for the reopening of the trip.

Winter season

He pointed out that Ryanair and its rival carriers are allocating planes to routes now for later in the year and winter season. The airline boss argued that the hotel quarantine rule was unnecessary because travelers could avoid the measure by entering the Republic via Belfast, Britain or from EU countries not covered by the restriction.

“There are 22 other countries you can fly from or pass through the UK,” he said.

He noted that while the Republic’s vaccination program began to lag behind that of Europe, the EU was planning measures including vaccination passports from June on the basis of an improvement in the situation. of public health.

“We took the exact opposite path, excluding the Austrians, French, Belgians and Italians, because they have some kind of public health agenda when we are whiter than white,” Wilson said.

Ryanair earlier called on the Taoiseach to end the hotel quarantine rule for EU travelers, calling it “absurd” and “unnecessary”.

The carrier, the largest in Europe, stressed that vaccination of the most vulnerable groups in the Republic had reduced hospitalizations and serious illness, with fewer than 50 cases currently in intensive care. He argued that the government should set specific times for reopening travel with the EU before the end of May to ensure that all vaccinated citizens can travel without restrictions.

The airline has warned that the Republic cannot continue to be Europe’s outlier.

Ryanair’s call followed a similar call from the National Civil Aviation Development Forum to end hotel quarantine and set targets for reopening to travel.

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