Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has predicted face masks for passengers will remain as a requirement on their flights until 2022.
Mr O’Leary has confirmed the airline will begin to return to a more normal summer flight schedule in the coming months, with 80% capacity and around 2,300 flights per day a possibility.
However, despite the positive moves regarding lockdown easing and the potential for a return to international travel this summer, Mr O’Leary has issued a warning.
“I would imagine at this point in time, we’re planning to continue to require mandatory face masks on board our aircraft through the remainder of this summer schedule and next winter’s schedule,” he said.
The travel industry has been massively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic with figures from Ryanair confirming they carried 33m passengers in the year up to February compared 154m in the previous 12 months.
However, Mr O’Leary stated the rapid vaccine roll out and lockdown rule changes in the UK could signal a major increase in European holiday bookings.
“Families will be travelling to and from the UK and Europe, going to the beaches of Europe on summer holidays that are richly deserved after the very fraught last 12 months,” he added.
“I’m pleased to report we’ve had a recent surge in bookings as the UK began to open up restrictions.
“If you’re fully vaccinated, frankly, I would be very surprised if there was any legal basis for the UK Government preventing people travelling on holidays to Europe, which will have caught up with the UK vaccine rollout programme by the end of May or the end of June.”