Ryanair Expects To Remain Grounded Until June

European low-cost airline Ryanair has announced that it does not expect to operate any flights at all during April and May this year. In a tweet, the airline said that its decision will depend on government advice, but that it will offer its planes to all EU governments to use in repatriation missions.

Ryanair getty
Ryanair’s aircraft will remain grounded until June, although some may be used in repatriation efforts. Photo: Getty

Ryanair grounded for two months or more

Leading European low-cost carrier Ryanair has confirmed today that it will not operate any flights in April or May as far as it can see. A statement from CEO Michael O’Leary, posted on the airline’s Twitter feed, said that the virus has “transformed the lives of people all over Europe and the world.” The message went on to say,

“As a Group of Airlines, we expect most of our ­flights to be grounded from Tues 24th March onwards. We have offered our aircraft to all EU Governments, both for rescue ­flights and to operate essential ­flights 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. In all cases, these ­flights take place under maximum safety, with daily disinfecting of aircraft, and no trolley service to minimize social contact.

“The safety and well-being of our crews and passengers is our no.1 priority.”

The airline has already reduced staffing at contact centers and offices in order to adhere to social distancing advice. As such, customers are being asked not to call the airline for advice, as the phone lines will likely be extremely busy. Mr O’Leary said,

“Please do not call our phonelines as the reduced staffing will be unable to accommodate anything but the most urgent of cases, which over the coming days, will be rescue flights.”

O’Leary concluded by saying that, as nobody knows when the current restrictions will end, the airline will be dependent on government advice as to when it will start services once again.

Planes to be used for repatriation

In a bold move, Ryanair has offered its aircraft to not just its home government in Ireland but to governments of all EU nations, so that they may operate repatriation flights to get their citizens back home. They are also at governments’ disposal for the movement of vital medicines, personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves and, if needs be, emergency food supplies.

Ryanair coronavirus getty images
Ryanair planes will be available for European government missions. Photo: Getty

Ryanair stressed in the announcement that any flights such as this will be operated with the maximum health and safety measures in place. It said that aircraft will be disinfected daily, and that there will be no trolley service on board, in a bid to reduce social contact.

Last weekend, Ryanair told the Financial Times that all staff would take a 50% pay cut, in a bid to mitigate the financial damage being done by the current situation. The pay cut will be for the months of April and May, with a further assessment of the situation at the end of May. O’Leary noted that Ryanair had not ruled out job cuts further down the line.

O’Leary concluded his announcement today by saying,

“In Ryanair, Buzz, Lauda and Air Malta, 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.”

This news comes as many airlines have drastically cut services for the coming weeks, and others have canceled flying altogether.

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