Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary declared on Tuesday that the ultra-low-cost carrier will suspend all flights until at least June. The news comes as a result of the current coronavirus epidemic, which has caused countries to close borders and travelers to stay home to limit its spread.
Europe’s largest low-cost airline will immediately suspend all commercial activities, instead of using its aircraft to assist repatriation and humanitarian efforts where necessary.
“As a Group of Airlines [Ryanair, Lauda, Buzz and Malta Air], we expect most of our flights to be grounded from Tue 24 March onwards”, O’Leary said in a statement. “We have offered our aircraft to all EU Governments, both for rescue flights and to operate essential flights for the movement of vital medicines, personal protective equipment, and if necessary, emergency food supplies”.
O’Leary added that he believes that it is necessary for Ryanair to keep essential medicines and food supplies going. In cases where Ryanair aircraft are used to repatriate passengers, maximum safety measures are taken by the airline, such as frequent disinfection of aircraft and no trolley service, in order to reduce contact.
“At this time, no one knows how long this Covid shutdown will last”, O’Leary said. “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”.
For passengers who booked Ryanair flights, the airline confirmed that it will contact you within “next week or two,” listing your choices and advises travelers not to contact the Customer Care Center, as the staff was reduced in half to observe “social distancing”.