Ryanair to ditch face masks on flights by spring and add 14 new London routes

Mar 2, 2022

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Ryanair is attempting to harness the power of a summer unshackled by COVID-19 restrictions by adding 14 new routes from Britain. 

This, the budget airline says, will put it in record position as the carrier with the most flights out of Britain during the sun-seeking season with 181 routes from London’s Gatwick, Luton and Stansted.

The Irish carrier made the announcement as CEO Michael O’Leary pledged Ryanair would be the first airline to return to Ukraine when its war with Russia is over. 

“We will be the first airline to return to Ukraine when it is safe to do so … but I suspect it will take until next winter, when hopefully the Ukrainians will have seen off the Russians and sent them back to where they came from,” he told a press conference.

But he also said he expected this summer to be a bumper season for the short-haul travel business thanks to a pent-up demand for foreign beach breaks among holidaymakers who spent last summer at home. 

That, combined with the fact long-haul flying has grown riskier and more expensive due to COVID-19 and the closure of Russian airspace, gives Ryanair and its competitors cause for hope this summer. 

“If you holidayed in Bognor Regis or Scotland or the west of Ireland last summer, in a caravan in the gales and the rain, you are going [abroad]”, he added.

It’s a wave Ryanair is keen to ride, so here are the flights the company has added:

  • Burgas, Bulgaria 
  • Catania, Spain 
  • Helsinki, Finland
  • Lublin, Poland 
  • Maastricht, Netherlands
  • Madeira, Portugal
  • Menorca, Spain 
  • Naples, Italy 
  • Orebro, Sweden
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Tampere, Finland
  • Tangier, Morocco
  • Trapani, Sicily 
  • Vaxjo, Sweden

Announcing the new routes, O’Leary, never one to pass up an opportunity to put the boot into his air-travel overlords, slammed the British government for delaying a cut to domestic Air Passenger Duty until 2023.

“We are pleased to announce 14 new routes from our three London airports, Stansted, Luton and Gatwick, as all Covid-19 travel restrictions have now been lifted,” he said. 

Then he added: “Despite launching our biggest ever schedule, the UK government failed to support this recovery by delaying the reduction in APD until 2023.

“Ryanair again calls on the UK government to scrap APD completely, to allow airlines and airports to quickly restore traffic, jobs, and tourism.

“The 50% reduction proposed for 2023 is too little, too late as APD puts UK airports at a severe cost disadvantage versus European competitors, and the absence of government support for aviation and to UK traffic and growth.”

The announcement comes as Ryanair revealed it ferried 8.7 million passengers around Europe in February, compared to 500,000 in the same month last year. 

Ryanair will drop masks on flights by the spring, the airline’s CEO has announced.

A day after competitor Jet2 became the first U.K. airline to ditch mask-wearing rules on board its flights, Michael O’Leary revealed he would like to see holidaymakers fly barefaced by April or May this year, according to The Evening Standard.

Related: Jet2 becomes first airline to scrap face masks on flights

The Points Guy understands that none of the other British airlines plan to follow suit.

A British Airways spokesperson told The Points Guy: “A number of airports and destinations we operate between have requirements or legal mandates in place for the wearing of masks and there are significant implications for customers who do not comply. We therefore have a consistent mask policy on board and in the terminal to protect travellers, avoid customer confusion and ensure everybody is prepared for their journey.”

O’Leary also said he expected Gatwick to make a “strong recovery” after a tough two years under the COVID-19 pandemic, and predicted a fertile summer for the travel industry.

Fuelled by post-COVID-19 confidence, Ryanair today also announced the introduction of 14 new routes from three London airports.

This, the budget airline says, will put it in record position as the carrier with the most flights out of Britain during the sun-seeking season with 181 routes from Gatwick, Luton and Stansted.

O’Leary said he expected this summer to be a bumper season for the short-haul travel business thanks to pent-up demand for foreign beach breaks among holidaymakers who spent last summer at home.

Related: Wizz Air offers 100,000 seats to Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion

That, combined with the fact long-haul flying has grown riskier and more expensive due to COVID-19 and the closure of Russian airspace, gives Ryanair and its competitors cause for hope this summer.

“If you holidayed in Bognor Regis or Scotland or the west of Ireland last summer, in a caravan in the gales and the rain, you are going [abroad]”, he added.

It’s a wave Ryanair is keen to ride, so it added these flights to its already bulging summer roster:

  • Burgas, Bulgaria
  • Catania, Spain
  • Helsinki, Finland
  • Lublin, Poland
  • Maastricht, Netherlands
  • Madeira, Portugal
  • Menorca, Spain
  • Naples, Italy
  • Orebro, Sweden
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Tampere, Finland
  • Tangier, Morocco
  • Trapani, Sicily
  • Vaxjo, Sweden

Announcing the new routes, O’Leary, never one to pass up an opportunity to put the boot into his air-travel overlords, slammed the British government for delaying a cut to domestic Air Passenger Duty until 2023.

“We are pleased to announce 14 new routes from our three London airports, Stansted, Luton and Gatwick, as all Covid-19 travel restrictions have now been lifted,” he said.

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Then he added: “Despite launching our biggest ever schedule, the UK government failed to support this recovery by delaying the reduction in APD until 2023.

“Ryanair again calls on the UK government to scrap APD completely, to allow airlines and airports to quickly restore traffic, jobs, and tourism.

“The 50% reduction proposed for 2023 is too little, too late as APD puts UK airports at a severe cost disadvantage versus European competitors, and the absence of government support for aviation and to UK traffic and growth.”

Featured image by Fabrizio Gandolfo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty.

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