LONDON – Today Ryanair (FR) announced that it would cut its Ireland-UK schedules for the months of August and September by up to 1,000 flights, with the loss of over 200,000 passengers.
Ireland maintains a defective quarantine restriction on EU visitors even as the UK and Northern Ireland last week opened up air bridges to most EU countries.
Ireland, which accounts for less than 8% of FR’s traffic, its tourism industry and connectivity for Irish workers commuting particularly to/from the UK, is now suffering unrecoverable losses.
This is due in part because arriving EU passengers are forced to quarantine even while the border to Northern Ireland remains wide open with no such measures.
Statement from Ryanair
A Spokesperson for FR said, “Last week when the UK and Northern Ireland removed travel restrictions on short haul flights to/from the European Union, Ireland became the only country in the EU with a blanket 14 day quarantine restriction on all arrivals from EU countries, most of which have lower Covid case rates than Ireland.”
The spokesperson added,”It makes no sense, when Governments all over Europe have opened up EU flights since 1st June and removed travel restrictions on intra-EU travel, that the Irish Government continues to treat countries like Germany, Denmark and Greece as if they were suffering similar levels of Covid as the USA, Brazil and India.”
Irish citizens are being advised by their Government that they should not travel to and from EU countries, almost all of whom have lower Covid case rates than Ireland, yet citizens of Northern Ireland can travel freely to and from the EU, via Dublin Airport (DUB), without any quarantine restrictions whatsoever.
Cutting Ireland-UK flights
Air travel between Ireland and the UK is being badly damaged by this ineffective 14-day quarantine. FR will significantly reduce its flights between Ireland and the UK in August and September to reflect this suppressed demand.
This means 100,000 fewer visitors from the United Kingdom traveling to regional airports in Cork (ORK), Shannon (SNN), Knock (NOC) and Kerry (KIR) during the peak months of the tourism season.
The airline states that this unique policy by Ireland is damaging the recovery of Ireland’s economy and the tourism industry, causing long-term damage to jobs in Ireland’s largest employment sector, with business travelers, in particular, being told that Ireland is closed for business.
Appeal to the Irish Government
The company calls on the Irish Government to remove all travel restrictions between Ireland and the EU as a matter of urgency, so that Ireland’s tourism providers can recover their business and minimise job losses before they reach the downturn winter period.
Featured Image: Ryanair Boeing 737-8AS taking off from Naples International Airport (NAP). Photo: ©Marco Macca – @aviator_ita