Ryanair Hammers Government ‘Mismanagement’ of Covid Crisis

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Ryanair Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary lashed out at governments over their handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying an ineffective response to the crisis had added to the difficulties of struggling airlines.

Leaders in the U.K. and Ireland are focused on the wrong data with the daily coronavirus case rate and should put more effort toward test-and-trace programs to get the economy moving, the outspoken airline chief said Tuesday in an interview with Bloomberg Television. He also slammed British quarantine measures and the “chopping and changing of requirements” in London.

“It’s largely political mismanagement,” O’Leary said. “The Germans and the Italians are much more effective.”

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Airline hopes for a summer rebound were dashed by rising virus cases and shifting restrictions, often brought about with little notice. It’s disrupted trips and dimmed the public’s appetite to go abroad. Dublin-based Ryanair and other carriers havepulled back on schedules and are resorting to more cost cuts andfundraising to get through the quieter winter season.

“The government’s got to come up with some measures here to give the airlines and the airline industry a break this winter,” O’Leary said, repeating an industry call for lower U.K. passenger duties.

Testing Debate

The U.K. government has downplayed the benefits of introducing testing at airports, saying a lengthy quarantine would still be required. It has zig-zagged between stimulatory moves like encouraging people to go to offices, restaurants and pubs, and limiting public gatherings to fight the disease’s spread.

Read:Boris Johnson Bans Gatherings of More Than Six to Fight Covid

Continuing to require arrivals to self-isolate will hurt business travel through fall, O’Leary said.

While people are still traveling, largely for family events such as christenings or weddings, “there’s a degree of nervousness there,” he said. “That’s what we need the government to address.”

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