Ryanair urges rethink as pressure continues to mount on aviation industry

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Ryanair has called on the Government to “urgently revise” the so-called ‘green list’ of countries it is safe to travel to and from without the need to quarantine.

The airline wants all EU countries with lower Covid case rates than Ireland’s – including the UK, Germany, Portugal, Poland, Bulgaria, Denmark, and Cyprus – featured.

“There is no longer any justification for maintaining a failed quarantine on flights to/from other EU countries, which have lower Covid case rates than Ireland,” a Ryanair spokesperson said, claiming that Ireland’s case rates are rising due to a failure to deliver an effective track and trace system.

In Britain, more than 100 politicians have joined forces with trade union Unite to urge the UK government to provide extra state support to airlines and airports as travel slumps due to the coronavirus pandemic and job losses increase.

They have signed a letter asking for the government’s job retention scheme, which pays employees a proportion of their salary while they temporarily do not work, to be extended to next March for the aviation sector. The scheme is set to close for all businesses by the end of October.

UK airlines including British Airways, EasyJet and Virgin Atlantic have already announced almost 20,000 job cuts between them and Unite said 60,000 jobs in the British aviation sector were “hanging in the balance”.

Gatwick Airport, Britain’s second-largest airport, said the pandemic had pushed it to a £321m (€358m) loss in the first six months of 2020 as passenger numbers collapsed and it prepared for the travel slump to last for years. Gatwick said earlier this week it needed to cut 600 jobs to prepare for a smaller travel industry.

Meanwhile, Norwegian Air aims to secure funding this year for the next 18 months or more to see it through the Covid-19 pandemic, the budget airline said, after reporting first-half losses of $610m (€516m).

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