Ryanair has announced plans to restore 40% of its normal flight schedule from 1 July, and will insist passengers and crew undergo pre-flight temperature checks and wear face masks.
The budget carrier said on Tuesday (12 May) it would initially aim to operate a schedule of almost 1,000 daily flights to 90% of its pre-coronavirus route network, subject to government restrictions on internal EU flights being lifted and airports enforcing "effective public health measures".
Operations will resume at most of Ryanair’s 80 European bases, with a focus on operating the widest possible range of routes rather than targeting high frequency services on a smaller number.
It has created a new "return to flying video" urging passengers to observe "effective health measures" to limit the spread of coronavirus, which include checking in online, downloading boarding passes to smartphones and travelling with "fewer checked bags".
Temperature checks upon airport entry will be mandatory, as will wearing face masks or coverings at all times in terminal and onboard.
Passengers will be asked to observe social distancing measures at airports and onboard aircraft "where it is possible"; this includes no queuing for toilets, which will be accessible on request.
Aircraft will be disinfected daily, and staff will also be required to wear face masks or coverings. A limited cashless in-flight service will be operated.
Additionally, Ryanair will require all passengers flying in July and August to give details at check-in of their proposed stay or trip, including accommodation, and contact information "to help EU governments monitor isolation regulations".
Ryanair chief executive Eddie Wilson said after four months of lockdown "it was time to get Europe flying again" to reunite friends and families, help people return to work "and restart Europe’s tourism economy".
"Ryanair will work closely with public health authorities to ensure these flights comply, where possible, with effective measures to limit the spread of Covid-19," said Wilson.
"As already shown in Asia, temperature checks and face masks/coverings are the most effective way to achieve this on short-haul within Europe’s single market.
"Now Europe’s states are allowing some gradual return to normal life, we expect this will evolve over the coming weeks and months. With more than six weeks to go to 1 July, Ryanair believes this is the most practical date to resume normal flight schedules."
Wilson said the move would also allow countries with "tourism-based economies" to recover "what’s left of this year’s tourism season", specifically citing Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and France.
Fares lead in from €19.99 one way and are available now.