Ryanair has been issued a warning by the Italian aviation authority, ENAC, over its non-compliance with Italy’s Covid-19 safety and social distancing rules for travel.
Italy has been one of the hardest hit countries in Europe by the pandemic. It was one of the first countries to report cases, and it has had nearly 250,000 cases and an estimated 35,100 deaths.
In light of this, in order to fly in and from the country, airlines are required to implement strict safety measures if they wish to run flights at full capacity.
These measures include:
- Strict social distancing before and after take-off, including during boarding
- Social distancing during transferring and on shuttle buses
- Passengers and staff must wear masks throughout their flights
- Face masks must be changed at least every four hours on long haul flights
However, according to ENAC, “Ryanair systematically does not comply” with these regulations, which the agency says are crucial in reducing the risk of transmission on flights and in airports.
It added, “Not only is the obligation of distancing between passengers not observed, but also the conditions that allow derogation from this distancing are not met.”
Furthermore, it said that if Ryanair continued to break the rules, it could be required to fly planes at half their usual capacity instead. Or, in the worst case, it could “suspend all air transport activities at national airports, requiring the carrier to re-route all passengers already in possession of tickets”.
In a statement, Ryanair said the claims were “factually incorrect”. It said: “Ryanair complies fully with the measures set out by the Italian government and our customers can rest assured that we are doing everything to reduce interaction on both our aircraft and at airports to protect the health of our passengers when flying Ryanair.”
The airline, which operates in 25 Italian destinations and is the largest airline in Europe, added that it has implemented new boarding procedures and it encourages passengers to use online check-in to “avoid unnecessary gathering of passengers both at boarding gates and onboard the aircraft”.
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