Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary welcomes EU airline safety guidelines

Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary welcomes EU airline safety guidelines
File image of Ryanair ceo, Michael O'Leary.

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary has welcomed new European flight safety guidelines as he again slammed proposed quarantines on airline passengers as "ineffective and unimplementable".

He has urged the governments in Ireland and the UK to back down on the proposals and, instead, introduce requirements to wear face coverings on public transport as "the best and most effective way to limit the spread of Covid-19". 

In Ireland, face coverings are advised, but not required, on public transport and in spaces where social distancing is difficult.

The remarks were issued in response to safety guidelines from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

The protocols include:

  • Implementing physical distancing of 1.5m between individuals;
  • Wearing face masks at all times in airports and aircrafts;
  • Enhanced hygiene measures;
  • Minimise contact and touching of surfaces by using mobile check-in and non-contact boarding.

Testing passengers in order to allow travel under "immunity passports" is not supported by the EASA and ECDC, while it only recommends the use of temperature checks for passengers if it is required under national policy as "thermal screening has many limitations and little evidence of effectiveness in detecting Covid-19 cases".

Passengers who refuse to comply with preventative measures should "be refused access" to the airport and aircraft, it notes, while it also encourages airlines to implement physical distancing where possible on aircraft, but recommends families be allowed to sit together and does not recommend leaving the middle seat free in a row.

It also makes no recommendation to quarantining passengers after they travel.

Mr O'Leary has been outspoken on this matter, claiming the proposed 14-day quarantine would be "ineffective and unimplementable" and has "no basis in science or medicine".

He welcomed the EASA and ECDC guidelines and said: "Europe's citizens can travel safely on their summer holidays wearing face masks and observing temperature protocols."

The remarks come as Aer Lingus begins its new policy of requiring all staff and passengers to wear face coverings for the duration of their journey. 

The obligation to wear face coverings will remain in place until at least the end of August, Aer Lingus said.

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