Ryanair CEO: Ireland is 'laughing stock of Europe' due to mandatory hotel quarantine


Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

13.11 23 Apr 2021


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Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson claims Ireland is the 'laughing stock of Europe' due to mandatory hotel quarantine.

He says enforcing the rules for countries outside Europe can work, but it "simply doesn’t work" for countries in the Common Travel Area.

Dozens of countries are now on Ireland's 'red list' of high-risk countries, including several EU states such as France, Italy and Belgium.

The introduction of such a hotel quarantine system has been welcomed by many public health experts, who've been calling for such a system since early in the pandemic.

Some experts - including Dr Gabriel Scally - want the system expanded to include arrivals from all countries.

However, Eddie Wilson told The Pat Kenny Show he believes quarantine is an "expensive stunt".

He said: “You can’t quarantine against people coming from France, Italy, Belgium… as they’ll simply just go to Sweden, Germany or Holland and fly anyway.

“If you want to do it from India or somewhere that’s got a variant, where we don’t have a Common Travel Area… then you can enforce that.

"But we’re the laughing stock of Europe now at the moment.”

He rejected suggestions he doesn't care about public health, saying his airline "doesn't have a business" without public health.

However, he claimed mandatory quarantine is a “diversion” over how badly the Department of Health has handled tracking and tracing.

Mr Wilson suggested Ireland has "already started" losing routes and aviation business over the Government's handling of the pandemic.

He said airlines need a roadmap for reopening.

He observed: “I did a long-term deal with Stansted Airport for ten years… we’ve opened a base in Venice… we opened a base for [Croatia] in Zagreb… they’ve put in a programme for us to expand [in Sicily].

“It’s an absolute fact that there will be somewhere in the order of about 30% less capacity in Europe from this winter onwards. The smart governments are trying to secure that capacity - especially if they don’t have national carriers."

He noted that Aer Lingus is moving some of its fleet from the Republic to the UK for transatlantic routes.

Main image: Ryanair plane taking off from Dublin Airport. Picture by: Sasko Lazarov / RollingNews.ie

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