Ryanair confirms plan to operate more flights from July 1
By Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent
Ryanair has confirmed its plan to ramp up flights to 40% of its normal schedule from July 1 after Spain announced it will welcome the return of tourists from the same date.
The low-cost airline said it will operate flights to “key holiday airports” in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Cyprus.
It has launched a sale for flights in July and August with one-way fares starting from 29.99 euro (£26.71) in a bid to kick-start demand for travel.
Since mid-March, Ryanair has operated a skeleton daily schedule of 30 flights per day between the UK, Ireland and the rest of Europe.
The Spanish government revealed on Monday that its requirement for overseas visitors to go into quarantine for 14 days will be lifted from July 1.
This followed announcements by other popular tourist destinations that coronavirus restrictions will be eased in the coming weeks.
Ryanair chief executive Eddie Wilson said: “After four months of lockdown, we welcome these moves by governments in Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus to open their borders, remove travel restrictions and scrap ineffective quarantines.
“Irish and British families, who have been subject to lockdown for the last 10 weeks, can now look forward to booking their much-needed family holiday to Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and other Mediterranean destinations for July and August before the schools return in September.
“Ryanair will be offering up to 1,000 daily flights from July 1, and we have a range of low fare seat sales, perfect for that summer getaway, which we know many parents and their kids will be looking forward to as we move out of lockdown and into the school holidays.”
He insisted that all Ryanair flights will operate with new hygiene guidelines in place.
These include all passengers having to wear face masks in airports and on board aircraft, and having to ask cabin crew for permission to use the toilet facilities to avoid queues.
Mr Wilson added: “We look forward to welcoming millions of Ryanair passengers and their families back on board, and flying them on holiday as Europe’s economies begin to recover from these difficult recent lockdowns, which have been so successful in reversing the spread of the Covid-19 virus.”
Other airlines have also announced plans to boost flight numbers.
EasyJet announced last week it will resume flights from June 15 with a mainly domestic schedule in the UK and France.
British Airways is due to launch “a meaningful return to service in July”, while Jet2.com is to resume its flight programme at the beginning of that month.
The UK is to impose a 14-day quarantine requirement for anyone arriving in the country from June 8, but the rules will be reviewed every three weeks.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock previously warned that foreign holidays for UK residents are unlikely this summer.