Ryanair has announced it is likely to ground “most, if not all” flights sooner than expected, and it will be before the end of the month.
Europe’s biggest budget airline originally said it would be forced to cancel most services in April and May, but has now confirmed that schedules could be pared down to nothing by 24 March.
From this date, Ryanair says it expects that the vast majority if not all of Ryanair Group flights will be grounded, barring a very small number of flights to maintain essential connectivity, mostly between the UK and Ireland.
The carrier added that between 18-24 March, it would be cutting 80 per cent of flights.
Customers who are affected by the changes will be notified of their options, which include rebooking minus the usual fee, or a full refund.
Ryanair has asked that travellers do not contact its call centres as they are “overloaded” dealing with customer queries.
Details of the severely reduced schedule can be found on the Travel Advisory page on the Ryanair.com website.
The move is partly in response to the UK government’s announcement this week that it is advising against all but essential international travel in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Most EU Governments have also imposed strict travel bans and restrictions in the last week.
Ryanair said it would continue to stay in close contact with the foreign ministries of all EU governments on the repatriation of EU citizens, and would, where possible, operate rescue flights to get people home.
The airline said in a statement: “Ryanair sincerely regrets all disruptions caused by this unprecedented Covid-19 crisis.
“The safety and well-being of our people and customers is our main priority and we will continue to comply with all WHO and EASA guidelines, as well as all Government travel restrictions which have been imposed over recent days to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
“All our thoughts and prayers are with our people and our customers and their families as we work our way through this crisis.”
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