Ryanair airplane
Image Source: Aurelijus Valeiša
Ryanair aeroplane.
Jane Imrie

Ryanair calls for faster vaccine rollout amid “draconian” travel restrictions

Budget airline Ryanair has called on the UK and Irish governments to accelerate their COVID-19 vaccination programmes.

The airline, which has reported that it now expects January traffic to fall to under 1.25 million passengers as a result of the new lockdown measures in both countries, has labelled the travel restrictions as “draconian”.

The firm has also estimated that the new restrictions could also reduce February and March traffic to 500,000 passengers each month.

In response, Ryanir plans to ‘significantly’ cut its flight schedules from January 21, which will see “few, if any” flights being operated to and from the UK and Ireland until restrictions are lifted.

A spokesperson for Ryanair commented: “The WHO have previously confirmed that governments should do everything possible to avoid brutal lockdowns, because lockdowns “do not get rid of the virus”.

Commenting specifically on Ireland, the spokesperson added: “Ireland’s Covid-19 travel restrictions are already the most stringent in Europe, and so these new flight restrictions are inexplicable and ineffective when Ireland continues to operate an open border between the Republic and the North of Ireland.

“Since Ireland’s third lockdown will not get rid of the Covid virus, there is an onus on the Irish Government to accelerate the rollout of vaccines, and the fact that the Danish Government, with a similar 5m population, has already vaccinated 10 times more citizens than Ireland shows that emergency action is needed to speed Covid vaccinations in Ireland.”

The comments follow controversy over the firm’s recent “jab and go” advert, which is being investigated by the Advertising and Standards Authority (ASA) after over a thousand complaints were made.

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