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Dublin: 12 °C Monday 10 August, 2020
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'Closed for business': Ryanair takes aim at travel quarantine as it cuts 1,000 Ireland-UK flights

The cut for August and September comes less than two weeks after Ryanair ramped up its flights for the summer.

Ryanair jets parked up on the runway of Dublin Airport
Ryanair jets parked up on the runway of Dublin Airport
Image: Niall Carson/PA Images

RYANAIR IS TO massively cut flights between Ireland and the UK for the months of August and September, blaming the Irish government for what it calls “suppressed demand”.

The move comes less than two weeks after Ryanair ramped up its flights for the summer after running a skeleton schedule since mid-March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The airline has been repeatedly critical of the Irish government’s Covid-19 measures and has again called for the 14-day quarantine advice to be removed “as a matter or urgency”.

It says that Ireland “accounts for less than 8% of Ryanair’s traffic” but that the country’s tourism industry is facing “unrecoverable losses”.

“Air travel between Ireland and the UK is being badly damaged by this ineffective 14 day quarantine. Ryanair will significantly reduce its flights between Ireland and the UK in August and September, to reflect this suppressed demand,” a spokesperson for the airline said in a statement. 

This means 100,000 fewer visitors from the UK travelling to regional airports in Cork, Shannon, Knock and Kerry during the peak months of the tourism season.

Ryanair said the number of flights affected by the cut to its schedule would be “up to 1,000″ over the two-month period. In its statement, the airline does not make reference to the number of passengers who may have booked on the previously scheduled flights. 

Ryanair has faced consistent criticism for a delay in processing customer refunds for flights cancelled between March and June.

The airline has also has repeatedly taken issue with Ireland’s rules which require anyone who arrives into this country to quarantine for 14 days. 

In the statement today, Ryanair says the quarantine advice sends out the message that the country is “closed for business”. 

“This unique policy by Ireland, insisting on blanket quarantines with our European neighbours (most of whom have lower Covid case rates than Ireland) is damaging the recovery of Ireland’s economy and our tourism industry, causing long-term damage to jobs in Ireland’s largest employment sector, with business travellers in particular being told that Ireland is closed for business,” the spokesperson says. 

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Ryanair cites cases per million and deaths per million for saying other countries have lower rates than Ireland, such comparisons are problematic however because testing and how deaths are measured varies across different countries.

After Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney yesterday defended Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s planned trip to Brussels for a European Council meeting, Ryanair accused the government of hypocrisy. 

“If Micheál Martin does not quarantine for 14 days after visiting Brussels this week, then why should any other Irish or EU citizen be treated differently,” the spokesperson said.

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Rónán Duffy

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