Ryanair is to cut up to 1,000 flights between the UK and Ireland in August and September, blaming Ireland’s “defective quarantine restrictions”.
The carrier announced the cuts on Tuesday and said they would equate to the loss of around 100,000 passengers in each direction.
In a statement, it said that Ireland’s tourism industry and connectivity for workers commuting to the UK was suffering “unrecoverable losses, as arriving EU passengers are forced to quarantine even while the border to Northern Ireland remains wide open with no such quarantines”.
A spokesperson added: “Last week, when the UK and Northern Ireland removed travel restrictions on short haul flights to/from the European Union, Ireland became the only country in the EU with a blanket 14-day quarantine restriction on all arrivals from EU countries, most of which have lower Covid case rates than Ireland.
“It makes no sense, when governments all over Europe have opened up EU flights since June 1 and removed travel restrictions on intra-EU travel, that the Irish government continues to treat countries like Germany, Denmark and Greece as if they were suffering similar levels of Covid as the USA, Brazil and India.
“Irish citizens are being advised by their government that they should not travel to and from EU countries, yet citizens of Northern Ireland can travel freely to and from the EU – via Dublin Airport – without any quarantine restrictions whatsoever.”
The spokesperson added: “[The reduction in services] means 100,000 fewer visitors from the UK travelling to regional airports in Cork, Shannon, Knock and Kerry during the peak months of the tourism season.
“We call on the Irish government to remove all travel restrictions between Ireland and the EU as a matter of urgency, so that Ireland’s hotels, guest houses, restaurants and other tourism providers can recover their business and minimise job losses before we reach the downturn winter period.”
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