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Ryanair threatens to axe Irish routes, says travellers lie to avoid hotel quarantine

written by Hannah Dowling | April 26, 2021

A Ryanair plane touches down at Dublin (Source: Ryanair)

European budget giant Ryanair has said it may look to temporarily cancel a number of Irish routes from its network, in light of the Irish government’s current hotel quarantine requirements.

According to the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, any passengers travelling into the Republic of Ireland who have, in the last 14 days, spent any amount of time in countries deemed as ‘Category 2’ by the department, will be required to complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a designated facility.

The current ‘Category 2’ list contains 71 countries and territories, including European tourist spots such as Belgium, France, Italy, as well as the US and Canada.

As such, the Dublin-based airline has said that routes from Ireland to popular European tourist destinations, including Paris, Brussels, Rome and Vienna, could be axed within weeks, and called upon the Irish government to provide airlines and citizens alike with a timeline for re-opening travel to Europe.

Currently, the Irish government has tentatively suggested that a loosening of restrictions could occur by the middle of the European summer season, with current advice to be re-examined in July once more of the Irish population has been vaccinated.

Eddie Wilson, chief executive of Ryanair group’s flagship carrier, Ryanair DAC, said that the recent introduction of new countries to the Category 2 list saw the airline forced to fly an empty jet between Paris and Dublin last week.

According to Wilson, the “few passengers” that still turned up for their flight from the now blocked country were unable to fly onboard as they had not yet booked into quarantine hotels.


“This was at the same time that the Minister for Health was criticising airlines for not doing their job,” Wilson added. “We’re not only doing our job, we’re being criticised for it.”

According to Irish news outlet RTE, Ryanair also slammed the Irish hotel quarantine system as “defective” and “absurd” considering the fact the EU arrivals have found a loophole to avoid hotel quarantine – via Ireland’s 500-kilometre land border with Britain’s Northern Ireland.

According to Ryanair, travellers can easily cross the land border by first flying into Belfast in Northern Ireland, or instead, travel into Ireland from a country not contained on the Category 2 list.

Airline boss Wilson reiterated this point, explicitly stating that travellers could avoid quarantine by coming into the Republic via Belfast, the UK, or any of the European nations not on the restricted travel list.

“There are 22 other nations that you can fly from, or you can come through the UK,” he said.

It should be noted that both the above options would involve lying on the government-provided Passenger Locator Form.

According to Irish police bodies, failure to complete the form, or to do so accurately, is a criminal offence punishable by up to six months in prison and a fine of up to €2,500.

RTE reported that Ryanair claimed the Irish government’s travel restrictions are damaging the nation’s global reputation, and severely impacting connectivity to and from the country, and also threatened that airlines may pull aircraft out of Ireland in favour of countries with fewer restrictions.


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