“Don’t stay at home. Go on holiday. But don’t queue for the loo.”
That is the effective message from Ryanair, which is planning to re-start 40 per cent of its planned network for the main summer months.
The airline warns that “Project Lift-off” is subject to effective public health measures being put in place at airports – which is a given – and government restrictions on intra-EU flights being lifted, which is not.
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Boris Johnson has said that most travellers returning from abroad will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Few details have emerged, including the start date
At present, Europe’s biggest budget airline is running a skeleton service of just 30 flights a day, concentrated on connecting Ireland and the UK.
Flights will be ramped up from late June ready for implementing the reduced July schedule in full.
To kick-start sales, Ryanair is offering some very low fares, such as £43 from Manchester to Faro in Portugal on 28 June and £45 from Edinburgh to Rome on 1 July.
It appears that passengers from France will avoid the need to quarantine. If this is the case, then many returning travellers are likely to plan to return via a French airport.
A 7 July departure from Perpignan to Birmingham costs €50 (£44).
Passengers returning to the familiar fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft will find some big differences, however. They will be expected to wear face coverings while passing through the airport and on the aircraft.
Cabin crew, wearing face masks, will make inflight sales only with contactless payments, and passengers will not be permitted to line up for the toilet.
Ryanair’s chief executive, Eddie Wilson said: “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.
“With more than six weeks to go to 1st July, Ryanair believes this is the most practical date to resume normal flight schedules, so that we can allow friends and families to reunite, commuters to go back to work, and allow those tourism based economies such as Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, France and others, to recover what is left of this year’s tourism season.”
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