Passengers travelling with Ryanair will have to ask permission to use the toilet under new rules laid out by the airline, as it prepares to restart 40% of flights in July in the hope that government restrictions on travel in Europe will be lifted.
Europe’s biggest budget carrier intends to run almost 1,000 flights a day from 1 July and to restore 90% of its pre-pandemic route network. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Ryanair was operating 2,400 flights a day. It will restart flying from most of its 80 bases across the continent.
Ryanair published a return to flying video that advises passengers to check their temperature before going to the airport, check in online and download their boarding pass to their smartphone. Travellers will undergo further temperature tests at the airport, must wear face masks or other coverings and wash their hands and use hand sanitiser in terminals.
On board the aircraft, they will be able to buy pre-packaged snacks and drinks, using cashless payments only. Queuing for toilets will be prohibited on board, although individual passengers will be able to use the facilities “upon request”. Physical distancing at airports and onboard will be encouraged where possible.
The measures include fewer checked bags and a deep clean of the aircraft every night with chemicals that are effective for more than 24 hours. All Ryanair planes are fitted with Hepa air filters similar to those used in critical hospital wards, the airline says.
Since the Covid-19 flight restrictions were imposed in mid-March, Ryanair has been operating a skeleton daily schedule of 30 flights between Ireland, the UK and Europe. The pandemic has forced airlines around the world to ground their fleets.
As a temporary public health measure, while EU countries emerge from their Covid-19 lockdowns, Ryanair will require all passengers flying in July and August to fill in details at the point of check-in of how long their planned visit will be, and their address while visiting another EU country. This contact information will be provided to EU governments to help them to monitor any isolation regulations.
The Ryanair chief executive, Eddie Wilson, said: “It is important for our customers and our people that we return to some normal schedules from 1 July onwards. Governments around Europe have implemented a four-month lockdown to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus. After four months, it is time to get Europe flying again so we can reunite friends and families, allow people to return to work, and restart Europe’s tourism industry, which provides so many millions of jobs.”
Other airlines including Wizz Air and KLM have also announced a return to flying. The British Airways owner, IAG, had been planning to run 1,000 flights a day from July, but its chief executive, Willie Walsh, said on Monday it would review its plans in light of the UK government’s plan to quarantine people arriving by air. He said the number of flights would probably be “pretty minimal”.
Michael O’Leary, the group chief executive of Ryanair, brushed off the 14-day quarantine, from which French and Irish travellers will be exempt. He said the exemption showed the quarantine period was not based on science, passengers would ignore it, and the UK government lacked the police resources to check on people.
He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I don’t think this 14-day isolation will be effective. It will have no credibility among the travelling public, but it is manageable.”
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