Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has accused the British government of “incompetence and mismanagement” in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and its travel policy.
The controversial airline boss claims the winter vacation season is on the verge of collapse, as bookings were about a tenth of the normal level when he was devastated.
Ryanair has announced that it will run a massively scaled-back program next month amid uncertain UK government’s ever-changing quarantine restrictions and fears of the pandemic spike.
The airline usually operates a huge short haul program from airports across the UK including Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Cardiff and Stansted.
Mr O’Leary said delays in implementing an airport test program have failed the travel industry.
Speaking of ITV’s Peston program, he said, “Right now, November and December look like they’re booking at around 10 percent of our normal volume.
“And this number repeats itself in most European and UK airlines. We have never seen such uncomfortable advance bookings.”
He added: “The UK government has no competence, no matter trust.
“You know that the example we keep pointing out is that the Italians and Germans have allowed flights within the EU since July 1st and have managed to keep their Covid case rates low by 20 per 100,000. “”
Government rules did not prevent the virus from spreading despite its strict quarantine restrictions, he added.
“In the UK … the government is managing the situation poorly. You have limited the number of flights people can take, and yet you have seen big breakouts.
“Boris Johnson promised us world-class testing and tracking, and like most of his promises, it turned out to be empty and completely undeliverable,” O’Leary told the broadcaster.
Mr O’Leary alleged frequent changes to the Safe Travel List, which allowed destinations like Portugal to be approved and restrictions re-imposed within weeks, had weakened passenger confidence.
He called for the introduction of a regionalized plan that only includes areas with high COVID rates that are subject to quarantine restrictions.