***Update on 28/04/2020 @ 16:50 UTC – Ryanair confirmed to Simple Flying that the flight is being operated as a charter repatriation flight for a private company***
Ryanair is today operating a seven-hour flight to Liberia. The Boeing 737 departed from Dublin at 07:36 and is currently scheduled to arrive in the Liberian capital at 13:30. At the time of writing, it was flying over West Africa.
Airlines around the globe have been operating some fairly impressive flights as a result of the current aviation crisis. Except for a medical trip a couple of weeks ago, Ryanair hasn’t run any special flights since the crisis began over a month ago. However, this has now changed as the Irish low-cost carrier today flew a Boeing 737 to Liberia’s capital, Monrovia.
Ryanair’s fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft typically operates short hops around Europe, with some longer flights taking up to five hours. However, seven hours is quite a trek for one of the airline’s Boeing 737s.
Just looking at the destination of Monrovia, this flight instantly stands out as something unusual. While the airline does fly to Morocco, Simple Flying believes that this is the airline’s first flight to West Africa.
Flight RYR68 is today operating from Dublin to a destination 5,260km away in West Africa – Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia. At 07:36 local time or 06:36 UTC, one of Ryanair’s many 737-800 aircraft departed from Dublin and began to fly south.
The aircraft passed all of the usual Ryanair destinations and continued flying south. FlightRadar24.com last tracked it over the north of Mauritania at around 10:38 UTC. According to the popular flight tracking service, the aircraft is due to touch down in Monrovia at around 13:30 UTC, approximately seven hours after it departed Dublin. This is undoubtedly one of Ryanair’s longest flights.
The aircraft operating today’s trip is registered in Ireland as EI-GDK. According to data from Planespotters, the plane is relatively young in the Ryanair fleet. It was delivered to the carrier in November 2017, making it two and a half years old. However, it took its first flight around half a month earlier in October 2017.
Simple Flying has reached out to Ryanair to confirm the reason for this flight. At the time of writing, no reply had been received. However, we believe that given the current global situation, this flight is likely operating for repatriation reasons, or to transport medical aid.
Previously the Irish low-cost giant worked a special aid flight to take vital personal protective equipment (PPE) to Warsaw in Poland. This saw the cargo holds and passenger cabin loaded with boxes, with some even placed on seats.
Ryanair has been operating several ghost flights to keep both aircraft and crew current and serviceable. These have typically seen aircraft departing from an airport, before flying in a loop and landing again. These flights have been to keep aircraft ready for repatriation and aid flights.
What is the longest Ryanair flight that you’ve taken? Let us know your experience in the comments below!