Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has revealed some of the new measures the airline is considering enforcing in order to take to the skies in the future. The Irish-carrier has been forced to cancel flights right up into June, however, Mr O’Leary said there are plans to take to the skies again in “July and August” though the travel experience could be very different.
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Speaking on BBC News this morning he explained: “While we expect to be back flying some services in July and August, we think that the build-up will be slow, passengers will be wearing face masks, temperature checks at airports, there will be those kinds of controls.”
The airline, which had budgeted for 42 million passengers in the months of April, May and June, has seen figures plummet to less than 140,000.
Mr O’Leary emphasised that the cancelled flights were not the airline’s decision, and instead were due to the unprecedented pandemic and “cancellations imposed on us by the government out of nowhere.”
However, despite the fact he says social distancing is not possible onboard flights, he remains positive that once air travel does resume Ryanair will be able to keep its crew and passengers safe.
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“This notion of keeping empty middle seats, it doesn’t achieve any social distancing,” he said.
“The aisle and the window seat are two and a half feet away from each other, they are not two metres.“There is no way you can have social distancing in an aluminium tube, whether it’s an airline or it’s the London Underground or it’s a train.
“I think what we will have to do though when we do return is temperature checks of people entering terminals and train stations, and everybody with a temperature of over 38 degrees will be refused entry.
“And onboard we will have face coverings or face masks for passengers and cabin crew.”
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He adds: “We are disinfecting the aircraft every night, so yes we can keep people safe, but the challenge is going to be that the return to some degree of normality, to normal tourism fumes is going to take us a year, two, maybe even three at this stage.
”Many Britons who have been advised by the government to self-isolate and social distance for their own health, due to being classed as “high-risk”, may be concerned that they will not be excluded from the world of air travel.
Mr O’Leary says that this is not the case, though did point out that there are some scenarios where they may have to reconsider long-haul travel.
“I doubt it,” he continued.
“On short haul flights where your flight is one hour or one hour fifty minutes, no I don’t think you will be excluded.
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The air carrier also announced today that it would be slashing around 15 percent of its workforce due to the sudden drop in passenger figures, with the potential for more to come if the industry does not revive.
“For the full year we will now carry less than 100 million passengers, the original budget was 155 million passengers,” he said.“We will carry about one third less passengers than we originally planned this year.”
He added: “We have no choice this morning but to announce 3,000 job cuts – that is about 15 percent of our workforce – we will be closing some bases in the UK and Spain and other places across Europe because by the time we get out of this we will be into the winter schedule anyway.”
The airline has not yet reached a decision about which airports will see cuts.
Ryanair is not the only airline which has suggested the introduction of face masks for passengers as well as the crew.
Hungarian airline Wizz Air announced a series of new safety protocols for flights which are set to take to the skies in May.
A new video from the airline reveals plans for contactless check-in and the introduction of face masks for passengers.
TYravellers will also be handed an individual sanitising wipe to use in their seats.
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