Evening Standard

Ryanair boss claims plane seats 'act as blockage' to coronavirus as he calls for 'stupid' quarantine to be lifted

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 1/07/2020 12:11:18 Imogen Braddick
Michael O'Leary smiling for the camera © Provided by Evening Standard

Planes seats could act as a "blockage" to the spread of coronavirus, the boss of Ryanair has said.

As Ryanair is set to operate 40 per cent of its schedule across Europe from Wednesday, Michael O'Leary said studies have shown that the seat in front of passengers acts a barrier.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, he said: "While you are sitting in an aircraft seat...there are studies that show that the seat, the seat in front of you, acts as a blockage."

While one-metre social distancing is not possible on an aircraft, Mr O'Leary said face coverings will be mandatory.

"That is the recommended measure where social distancing isn't possible," he said.

Quizzed by host Susanna Reid on how people can eat and drink while wearing a mandatory mask, Mr O'Leary said passengers will have to use "common sense", adding that people are allowed to "lower their face mask" to take a drink.

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Ms Reid it would be "pointless" for people to wear masks if someone coughed or sneezed while they were taking a drink or a bite of food with their face masks lowered.

Mr O'Leary disagreed and said: "Well it's not. You are wearing the face mask when you are boarding the aircraft, while at the boarding gate, when you are mixing with other passengers."

He added: "If we have 100 per cent of people wearing face masks, our cabin crew are wearing face masks - those are measures that are recommended both by the WHO and the ECDC to allow people to travel safely on aircrafts."

The airline boss also pointed out that the planes have been fitted with hospital grade HEPA filters.

Footage from on board a Ryanair flight was played on the ITV show, which showed passengers standing on a crowded aircraft.

Ms Reid said they were "on top of each other".

Mr O'Leary hit back: "They are not on top of each other, they are all seated on board an aircraft wearing face masks.

"We need to get back to some degree of normality. We can't live our lives sitting isolated at home."

He added: "We will not allow you to board unless you are wearing a face mask."

Speaking on Sky News, Mr O'Leary called for the "stupid" quarantine measures to be lifted.

He said: "I think it's irritating that the Government is causing a huge amount of this damage with its badly thought out quarantine measures, which are not a quarantine - by filling in forms at airport which are then thrown in the bin and not followed up - but they are deterring visitors who are coming in June and July and August.

"These badly thought out and badly implemented policies, which have no effect on Covid, are doing untold damage to British tourism, British jobs and the wider British economy.

"We need to get this stupid quarantine lifted. We need to allow people to move again."

UK holidaymakers will be able to travel to Spain, France and Greece this summer without being forced to quarantine on their return.

From July 6, travel rules will be relaxed and a series of "air corridors" will be established with a number of countries, the BBC reported, giving Britons the opportunity for a summer holiday abroad.

Italy, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Turkey, Germany and Norway are also expected to feature.

The Government will announce the full list next week.

1. heinäkuuta 2020 15:11:18 Categories: Entertainment Weekly Evening Standard

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