Ryanair aircraft parked, Photo: Ryanair.

MIAMI – The Ryanair Group expects most of its flights to be grounded from Tuesday, March 24 until the end of May, according to its CEO Michael O’Leary.

The announcement comes today in a message from O’Leary to all Ryanair Group airline customers, citing governments’ unprecedented restrictions on citizen movement, specifically with bans that have closed Europe to all but a tiny number of repatriation/rescue flights.

O’Leary underscores how the COVID-19 has transformed the lives of people all over Europe and the World, apologizing sincerely for the disruptions that “were necessary, and unavoidable, to help EU Governments limit the spread of Covid-19 to protect our citizens.”

However, the Group will offer its aircraft to all EU Governments, both for rescue fights and to operate essential fights for the movement of vital medicines, personal protective equipment, and if necessary, emergency food supplies.

“As Europe’s borders become congested or closed, it’s vital Ryanair plays its part to keep vital medicines and food supplies moving. We are continuing to work with EU Governments on rescue flights to return stranded passengers to their home country,” says the CEO.

All essential and rescue flights will take place under maximum safety, with daily disinfecting of aircraft, and no trolley service to minimize social contact.

What this means for travelers

Regarding passengers whose flights have been canceled as a result of any Government shutdowns, Ryanair will contact them via email in the coming weeks to outline their options.

Furthermore, since Ryanair has had to reduce office stay by 50% for social distancing reasons, it asks its customers to be patient, advising them not to call the Group’s airlines as it will not be able to accommodate anything but the most urgent of cases, namely rescue flights.

Michael O’Leary, CEO, Ryanair.

Preparing for the months ahead

O’Leary, while mentioning not knowing how long the COVID-19 shutdown would last, does not expect to operate flights during the months of April and May, taking into account the 3-month period it took China to contain and reduce the spread of the virus.

The message underlines that while Governments and health agencies were taking unprecedented action, they still needed the Group’s support, adding that “by working together, we can all help to eliminate Covid-19 and allow our lives to return to normality.”

The CEO ended his message with a glimpse of hope, stating that while the immediate future was uncertain, it was important to remember that, like all pandemics, this crisis would pass.

We leave you with the last paragraph from O’Leary’s message:

In Ryanair, Buzz, Lauda, and Malta Air, we will do everything we can to keep our aircraft, our crews, and our engineering teams operational so that when Europe defeats this Covid-19 pandemic, we are ready to return to flying, to allow Europe’s citizens to go back to work, to visit friends/family, and to rebuild Europe’s tourism industry, upon which so many millions of jobs and families depend. Rest assured that we and the 18,000 aviation professionals in the Ryanair Group of Airlines will do everything we can to support our Governments, our people, and our customers during these unprecedented times.

Together, let’s all take care of ourselves, our families and our communities!