Neither Ryanair or Easyjet will cut their number of flights to Spain despite the government reimposing mandatory quarantine measures on people travelling from the country, the low-cost carriers confirmed today.
In a statement, the latter said: “We plan to operate our full schedule in the coming days.
“Customers who no longer wish to travel can transfer their flights without a change fee or receive a voucher for the value of the booking”.
However, it added that it would cancel all package holidays to Spanish destinations over the next few weeks.
“We have taken the decision to cancel holidays to these destinations when we restart our operations on 1 August”, said customer director Matt Callaghan.
“This is in line with one of our key commitments to only operate to countries where there isn’t a known requirement to quarantine or self isolate upon arrival in destination or when landing back in the UK.
Easyjet added that those who had been due to travel to the southern European country, the Canary Islands and the Baleriacs would be able to get a refund.
Speaking to investors this morning, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary called the government’s decision a “badly managed overreaction”.
Ministers panicked, he said, and implemented a blanket quarantine rather than restricting travel to regions where there has been a prominent surge in new cases.
The majority of new infections in Spain have been located in prosperous north-eastern regions such as Barcelona, though there has also been a spike in capital Madrid.
Finance chief Neil Sorahan confirmed that there were no plans to cut flights to Spain in the medium-term, though said bookings had fallen for the coming few weeks due to growing fears over the new infections.
The Irish airline posted an after-tax loss of €185m (£168.64m) this morning, which it said was narrower than it had anticipated.
O’Leary also said that it was mulling changing plans to close its bases in Germany after pilot union VC changed its mind about proposed pay cuts for employees over the weekend.
“When the German pilots last week rejected a pay deal, we closed three German bases. We may have to relook at that now that they accepted the deal over the weekend”, he said.
Under the new conditions, pilots would face a pay cut of 20 per cent, which would reduce to eight per cent over two years.
The airline said the u-turn means that 85 per cent of its pilots and 75 per cent of cabin crew across Europe have now accepted temporary cuts to pay and conditions in the wake of coronavirus.