Ryanair has canceled around 1,000 flights in protests of the Irish Government’s refusal to review a blanket 14-day quarantine rule. The low-cost carrier says that the quarantine will result in the loss of 200,000 passengers from its Irish airports, hence the flight cuts.
The issue of quarantine is one that has been a hot topic between airlines and governments recently. While most countries, including the United Kingdom, have scrapped mandatory 14-day quarantines that applied to all passengers, Ireland is yet to relent. This means that Ireland is now the only European Union country with a blanket quarantine policy still in place.
1,000 flights cut over two months
Ryanair believes that the Irish quarantine rules will cost some 200,000 passengers to its four Irish destinations in August and September. As a result, to cope with the drop in demand, the airline is set to cut 1000 flights across the two months.
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Ireland only accounts for 8% of Ryanair is traffic, despite the low-cost airline operating out of Dublin. However, the airline doesn’t want to operate flights that won’t be adequately used. That isn’t in the interests of the airline economically or environmentally. The cancellations will affect those flying from the United Kingdom to Cork, Shannon, Knock, and Kerry. Dublin has escaped cuts for the time being.
Ryanair group CEO Michael O’Leary has had some extreme points of view regarding quarantines. However, he did not comment on today’s flight cancellations. Instead, a Ryanair spokesperson said,
“Ryanair will significantly reduce its flights between Ireland and the UK in Aug & Sept, to reflect this suppressed demand… We call on the Irish Govt to remove all travel restrictions between Ireland and the EU (almost all of whom have lower Covid case rates than Ireland) as a matter of urgency.”
Not the first issue with a 14-day quarantine
When it comes to contesting 14 day quarantine periods, British Airways and easyJet had joined Ryanair in locking horns with the United Kingdom government. The group of three airlines took of the government to court over its blanket quarantine period. However, the UK government backtracked its 14-day quarantine rules the day that the court hearing was scheduled for. As a result, the group dropped the case as it was now irrelevant.
Ryanair hasn’t mentioned that it will take the Irish government to court. However, a spokesperson pointed out that Ireland has higher rates of COVID-19 transmission per million than most other European countries that Ryanair wants the ban lifted for. The also questioned why passengers arriving from Europe should quarantine when the Irish prime minister isn’t following a trip to Brussels.
What do you think? Was Ryanair right to cancel the flights? Should Ireland reassess quarantine? Let us know what you think and why in the comments.