Ryanair has announced that the majority of its flights will be grounded from today (March 24) and warned that this situation could last until May. They informed customers that flights will remain grounded for the foreseeable future due to the worsening Covid-19 pandemic.
Ryanair Group CEO Michael O'Leary stated: "Over the past few days, the spread of the Covid-19 Virus has transformed the lives of people all over Europe and the World. Across Europe, Governments have imposed unprecedented restrictions on citizen movement, starting with flight bans which have closed Europe’s skies to all but a tiny number of repatriation/rescue flights. We apologise sincerely for these disruptions which were necessary, and unavoidable, to help EU Governments limit the spread of Covid-19 to protect our citizens."
"Any passenger whose flight has been cancelled as a result of these Government shutdowns, will over the next week or two, receive an email outlining their options. At the same time as we are dealing with unprecedented numbers of flight bans, we have had to reduce office staff by 50% for social distancing reasons and we ask customers to be patient and bear with us; you will receive email communications in due course. Please do not call our phonelines as the reduced staffing will be unable to accommodate anything but the most urgent of cases, which over the coming days, will be rescue flights," he said.
A message to all Ryanair Group customers: pic.twitter.com/nzDhDt9jz4— Ryanair (@Ryanair) March 24, 2020
"At this time, no one knows how long this Covid shutdown will last. The experience in China suggests a 3-month period for the spread of the virus to be contained and reduced. We do not expect to operate flights during the months of April and May at this time, but this will clearly depend upon Government advice, and we will in all cases comply with these instructions."
Ryanair has offered their aircrafts to all EU Governments to operate essential flights for the movement of vital medicines, personal protective equipment, and if necessary, emergency food supplies. "As Europe’s borders become congested or closed, it’s vital Ryanair plays its part to keep vital medicines and food supplies moving. We are continuing to work with EU Governments on rescue flights to return stranded passengers to their home country. In all cases, these flights take place under maximum safety, with daily disinfecting of aircraft, and no trolley service to minimise social contact. The safety and well-being of our crews and passengers is our no.1 priority."