Ryanair flight detained in virus probe

RYANAIR managers suffered very hot under the collar symptoms yesterday when a flight from France was held up for medical inspection amid swine flu fears.

The increased fever-like temperatures in the Ryanair office were caused not by influenza but infuriation when 166 passengers and crew were temporarily quarantined for one hour in Dublin after landing.

As the flight from Nantes was en route to Dublin, the captain radioed ahead to say that four of his passengers were ill.

The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) then notified the Health Service Executive (HSE) of the flight.

The plane landed at Dublin Airport at 3.10pm and a full-blown flu alert swung into action.

All passengers and crew were detained on board the aircraft while a medical team examined the four sick passengers, who were part of a group of students travelling together.

A spokesperson for the airline said the four passengers, young students, had food poisoning-like symptoms.

The ill passengers were taken from the aircraft one hour after landing and the remaining passengers were then allowed to disembark.

Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara said: “This was a routine request from the captain and is procedure in such situations. However, the DAA decided that the crew and all passengers must remain onboard until the ill passengers had been examined by medical personnel.

“Ryanair regrets and apologises to its passengers for this unwarranted, unjustified and excessive response by the DAA in the case of a short-haul flight arriving from France.

“It is clearly ridiculous that passengers be detained unnecessarily in this manner by the overreaction of the DAA airport monopoly,” he said.

Meanwhile, health authorities are preparing an information leaflet on swine flu for every house in the country if needed.

The HSE said the leaflet would give details on how to deal with someone if they were suspected of contracting the condition.

Dr Kevin Kelleher, head of Health Protection, said it would be up to the Government when and if to distribute it.


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