Ryanair plans '1000 flights a day' around Europe from July

Customers will have to ask for permission to use the toilets.
Customers will have to ask for permission to use the toilets. Photo credit: Getty Images

Temperature checks, masks and quarantine times will not deter people from a holiday in the sun after three months "locked up" at home, according to Ryanair's chief executive Michael O'Leary, who has announced plans for 1000 flights per day across Europe from July.

The Irish low-cost airline will make face coverings and temperature checks mandatory for all staff and passengers, will scrap cash payments onboard and make customers seek permission to use the toilets.

Ryanair, Europe's largest airline, is the latest to announce measures aimed at reassuring customers they can safely return to planes despite the COVID-19 pandemic and to try to get cash flowing again, with compulsory masks the most common proposal so far.

"People have been locked up since the middle of March. People are really gagging to get out and I think get abroad for the sunshine," O'Leary said.

"We will see a surge of bookings building over the next six weeks up to July 1," he added.

O'Leary said he was urging European authorities to make both masks and temperature checks mandatory across the continent, adding the idea of leaving the middle seats on single aisle aircraft empty to allow for social distancing was now "dead".

The European regulator, European Union Aviation Safety Agency, is to propose new safety measures for aviation later this week.

Ryanair's rivals Air France-KLM, Lufthansa and Wizz have all made masks mandatory and the CEO of British Airways owner IAG Willie Walsh has said he is open to the idea.

The airline has been pushing back on the idea of countries within Europe introducing 14 day quarantine periods, like those in place in New Zealand.

Most airlines are disinfecting planes and several have limited cabin service onboard.

"This isn't science," he said.

"It's unenforceable and unpoliceable." 

He did say, however, Ryanair would require all passengers to fill out a form detailing the length of their planned visit and where they will stay. That information would then be provided to EU governments to monitor any quarantine measures.

O'Leary said he was optimistic there would be no quarantine periods for people travelling between countries in Europe's Schengen free travel zone and he hoped that travel restrictions to and from Britain and Europe would be dropped.

"Once the industry begins to recover towards September-October, I think we will be back to essentially open skies," he said, adding British families could happily quarantine at home for two weeks after returning from their holidays.

Earlier on Tuesday, Britain's health minister said Britons were unlikely to be able to have an international holiday this summer because of the pandemic.

Ryanair's boss expects the airline should return to its normal passenger number levels by 2021, with ticket price levels returning to normal by 2022.