Ryanair says new lockdown rules mean dropped UK, Ireland routes

'Draconian' restrictions are 'inexplicable,' according to ULCC.

Ryanair said it would likely not operate flights to and from Ireland or the UK in the near future, citing new COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

The update came before the UK government's Jan. 8 announcement that all international arrivals to England, including UK nationals, would soon be required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken up to 72 hours prior to departure. This includes those coming from countries on the UK's travel corridor list.

Ireland and the UK have gone into another COVID-19 lockdown, joining other European countries, including Germany, the Netherlands and parts of Spain.

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Ryanair said it expected January traffic to fall to under 1.25 million passengers, and that new COVID-19 restrictions could also reduce February and March traffic to as low as 500,000 monthly passengers.

“In response, Ryanair will significantly cut its flight schedules from Jan. 21, which will result in few, if any, flights being operated to/from Ireland or the UK from the end of January until such time as these draconian travel restrictions are removed,” the airline said.

The new reductions will reduce full-year traffic from a previous estimate of “below 35 million” to between 26 million and 30 million passengers, the LCC said.

The airline criticized the lockdowns and called for faster vaccine rollout in Ireland: “Ireland’s COVID-19 travel restrictions are already the most stringent in Europe, and so these new flight restrictions are inexplicable and ineffective when Ireland continues to operate an open border between the Republic and the North of Ireland. Since Ireland’s third lockdown will not get rid of the COVID virus, there is an onus on the Irish government to accelerate the rollout of vaccines.”

Photo credit: Ryanair