Ryanair calls on Government to lift travel restrictions for UK and EU

Ryanair calls on Government to lift travel restrictions for UK and EU

Irish airline Ryanair is calling for the Government to lift restrictions on non-essential international travel for the UK and EU, in addition to the removal of the "unique and failed hotel quarantine" system.

A statement from the airline calls for all travel restrictions to be lifted for passengers coming to and from the UK and EU member states from the end of this month.

Ryanair claims the reducing number of people with Covid-19 in hospital, which has dropped below 100 for the first time since September, along with the vaccination of high-risk groups means it is now time to reopen the travel sector.

The statement adds that the rollout of the vaccine has eliminated "any Covid risk of our hospitals and health service being overwhelmed".

However, officials have previously warned international travel still poses a risk of importing Covid cases, particularly among people who are yet to be vaccinated, and also the potential of importing variants which could be more resistant to vaccines.

Despite these factors, Ryanair cited increasing rates of vaccination across the EU and UK as a reason to reopen non-essential international travel.

The statement also questions restrictions on passengers arriving into the State from Britain, requiring them to present a negative RT-PCR test result and then complete 14 days of self-quarantine, or five days if they test negative after arrival.

The vast majority of the UK adult population have now received their first dose vaccination, and therefore pose no threat or risk to Ireland’s hospitals or health service.

Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson said: "Thanks to the success of the UK’s vaccine programme, there is no justification for requiring visitors to Ireland from the UK (our major visitor market) to quarantine.

"The vast majority of the UK adult population have now received their first dose vaccination, and therefore pose no threat or risk to Ireland’s hospitals or health service."

Mr Wilson added: "Equally, as Ireland and other EU countries' vaccine programmes exceed 33 per cent (with most of the high-risk groups now fully vaccinated) and with most of Europe on track to vaccinate 80 per cent of its adult population with first dose vaccines by the end of June, there is no need or requirement for Ireland to maintain travel restrictions on UK and Intra-EU air travel from the end of May onwards."

Mr Wilson stated Ireland's travel restrictions are "outdated, inappropriate and unnecessary", adding it was time the Government "got the country and our tourism industry back to work".

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