Travel row | 

Ryanair may cancel Irish routes due to mandatory hotel quarantine

The airline has called on the Taoiseach to demand a roadmap for the reopening of air travel before the busy summer season hits

'We can't continue being the failed outliers of Europe,' a spokesperson for the airline said (Niall Carson/PA)

Neasa Cumiskey

Ryanair has said that they are considering canceling a number of Irish routes as a result of mandatory hotel quarantine, RTÉ has reported.

The airline has said that flights from Austria, Belgium, France, and Italy may be called off in the coming weeks.

Ryanair has called on the Taoiseach to demand a roadmap for the reopening of air travel before the busy summer season hits.

They have also asked the Government to reconsider the mandatory hotel quarantine system for certain EU countries, describing the restriction as “defective” as travellers could easily avoid the measure by flying into the island through Belfast.

“We can't continue being the failed outliers of Europe,” a spokesperson for the airline said.

“Our Government must act now and apply common sense before it is too late to save connectivity to/from the island of Ireland.

“We call on Taoiseach Micheál Martin to scrap this defective/useless hotel quarantine which only applies to certain EU countries, ensure vaccinated people can move freely to/from the EU, and set out a clear plan to re-open the nation for air travel to/from Ireland from the end of May onwards.”

These comments come just after Ryanair’s CEO, Eddie Wilson, revealed that the Covid quarantine rules forced the airline to fly an empty aircraft from Paris to Dublin last week.

He explained that the “few passengers” that had booked the flight were not permitted to fly as the had failed to book into a hotel in Ireland for quarantine.

“This was at the same time that the Minister for Health was criticising airlines for not doing their job,” Mr Wilson said.

“We’re not only doing our job, we’re being criticised for it.”

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that he current advice on international travel is due to be re-examined in July, when a significant number of vaccinations are expected to be administered across Europe.

Speaking on RTÉ's The Week in Politics, he said: "I don't believe we can seal off Ireland forever."

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said that while the EU are currently developing a system to let vaccinated people fly using a “green passport,” he does not believe that this will be in place by the summer season.

Speaking on RTÉ’s This Week, he said: “I think, certainly, if we then get the reassurance from our public health team that it is safe to allow vaccinated people to travel without having to quarantine then that certainly gives us the tool and the capacity to be able to open up international travel.”

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