Article Produced by James Field & Ryan Taylor
LONDON – Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair has returned to the skies through a major presence of 1,000 flights that will be operated starting today.
The figure of 1,000 daily flights to 200 different airports across Europe represents an increase in operations of 90% of its pre-COVID-19 route network, irrespective of lower frequencies.
The airline has also made adjustments in line with the European Commission and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to be able to deal with the virus while restarting operations.
This has included elements such as mandatory face masks/coverings, fewer checked bags, cashless in-flight services, and improved hygiene procedures.
Comments from Ryanair CEO
Commenting on the news was CEO Michael O’Leary who welcomed decisions about air bridges in the UK which contributed to more flights being operated.
“We have been back flying approx. 250 flights daily for the last 10 days of June to bring our aircraft, our crews and our maintenance teams back into service. Starting today, we are operating 1,000 daily flights across our entire European network, which is approx. 40% of our normal July capacity.”
“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.”
“We welcome this week’s decision by the UK Government to replace its failed “form filling” quarantine with air bridges to most of Europe.”
“We also call on the Irish Government to scrap its equally useless form filling exercise at airports, which does not deliver any quarantine benefit whatsoever, particularly when there is very little follow up and no control over the accuracy of the implementation of these forms.”
A Busy June
The carrier has had a relatively busy month during this pandemic.
It started the month with legal action against the UK Government alongside British Airways and easyJet which eventually changed the position of quarantining upon arrival into the country.
Welsh Government Against Operation Restart
It is believed the Welsh Government has asked the Dublin based low-cost giant not to resume flights from the Welsh capital on Friday.
The request comes as lockdown measures relax across the United Kingdom. During the Coronavirus pandemic, England, Scotland and Wales have been marching to the tune of a different drummer. What is acceptable one side of the border is not allowed on the other.
England was one of the first countries to allow travel for recreation back in May. However the Scottish and Welsh governments were clear that lockdown measures were to remain in force.
In England, it is expected that an imminent announcement is due on air bridges. Allowing people to travel between select European countries without mandatory 14-day quarantine.
No decision has been made on air bridges from passengers traveling from Welsh airports to Europe. It is however believed that from Monday, July 6, people will be allowed to travel within the country without restrictions.
The budget airline is advertising flights to popular holiday destinations in Portugal and Southern Spain. With Malaga and Faro believed to be the first two routes to resume.
A Welsh Government spokesperson said, “We don’t believe these flights should be going ahead.”
Cardiff Airport said its airlines would “slowly re-start flying passenger services, increasing in August”.
Onwards to the MAX
According to a report from Reuters, Ryanair Group CEO Michael O’Leary hopes to take delivery of its first Boeing 737MAX200 Gamechanger aircraft by November this year.
This comes following the beginning of recertification flights into the aircraft being conducted by the manufacturer and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
O’Leary also confirmed that if all goes well and the first of 210 aircraft on order are delivered, then it will push forward with a delivery schedule of the first 30-40 units in the fleet by the Summer next year.
It is also understood that talks between the two sides are also in progress regarding compensation which the media outlet said it would be focused on repricing the planes.
These talks are due to be concluded once Boeing has confirmed the new delivery schedule with the airline.
It remains clear that Ryanair will be a carrier to watch as it continues to push itself out of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Only time will tell to see whether the operational restart will be sustainable, especially at this period going into the pandemic.