FILE PHOTO: Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary in Brussels, Belgium March 3, 2020. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/File Photo
DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ryanair (RYA.I) expects Britain to join European nations in dropping COVID-19 quarantine plans in the coming weeks, Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said in an interview on Wednesday, reporting a “big surge” in holiday bookings from the country.
Last week Britain announced a 14-day quarantine from June 8 for arrivals from abroad, including citizens, as other nations, such as Italy and Spain, declared plans to ease theirs.
O’Leary, who has described the plan as “unenforceable”, said many customers in Britain appeared to be ignoring the rules, with booking rates in recent days showing the airline’s 1,000 daily flights were likely to be more than half-full in July.
“The UK and Ireland will either quietly drop them or drop them as another easing measure in the next week or two. I am confident of that,” O’Leary said.
“There will be movement, because people are just going to ignore it. We have seen a big surge in bookings on our flights out of Ireland and the UK to Spain, Portugal and Italy over the weekend, and that seems to be continuing this week.”
O’Leary said the booking patterns made him “reasonably confident” that the low-cost giant’s planes would be 50% to 60% full when it resumes flying 40% of its fleet in July, or about 1,000 flights a day.
Booking are strong for all the main holiday destinations, including Croatia, France, Greece, Portugal and Spain, he added. Ryanair hopes a busy holiday season will boost confidence in Europe in flying for normal business activity.
(Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: here)
Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Jan Harvey and Clarence Fernandez