Coronavirus travel: Ryanair boss accuses government of ‘making it up as they go along’

18 May 2020, 10:21

The Ryanair CEO hit out at the Government over its coronavirus response
The Ryanair CEO hit out at the Government over its coronavirus response. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Budget airline boss Michael O’Leary has branded the UK’s planned introduction of a 14-day quarantine period for travellers arriving from abroad as “idiotic and unimplementable”.

The Ryanair CEO hit out at the Government saying they had "mismanaged the crisis for many weeks" before suggesting the Government were "making stuff up as they go along," when it comes to transport policy.

He spoke out as Ryanair posted its annual results, with the airline warning that it expected overall passenger numbers to almost halve in the current financial year.

The airline also announced plans to cut 3,000 jobs as the company struggles to deal with the impact of the coronavirus crisis.

Read more: Ryanair set to lay off 3,000 staff amid coronavirus impact

Speaking to CNBC, O’Leary said plans for a 14-day quarantine period for travellers entering the UK were "a joke" after Italy removed their requirements for people entering the country going into lockdown.

“They removed this idiotic 14-day isolation that is both unimplementable and unmanageable, in favour of using masks and temperature checks,” he said, adding that “the two-week quarantine is a joke.”

Mr O’Leary said that it was likely that any quarantine plan would be dropped within weeks because people would refuse to abide by it.

“The 14-day lockdown has no credibility and I think will be eliminated by the time we get to the end of June anyway,” he said. “As the government puts more meat on the bones of an un-implementable, unmanageable and un-policeable 14-day lockdown, people will simple ignore something that is so hopelessly defective in favour of . . . some effective measures like facemasks. Facemasks are effective; 14-day isolations aren’t. “

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Other European countries, including the UK, have announced plans to introduce two-week quarantine periods for inbound flights for certain passengers.

“We are in dialogue with the Government but Government have no idea what they are talking about,” O’Leary said.

“You ask senior Government Ministers in the U.K. to define what the 14-day isolation period will be, they can’t. They say it is based on science but then (they) can’t explain why you’re exempting the Irish and the French.”

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