Travel Agents Chief calls on government to cancel foreign flights so customers can reclaim costs 2 months ago

Travel Agents Chief calls on government to cancel foreign flights so customers can reclaim costs

“The consumer is the meat in the sandwich here.”

The CEO of the Irish Travel Agents’ Association (ITAA) has called on the government to cancel foreign flights out of Ireland following a warning about the risk of foreign travel from the Chief Medical Officer.

At a press briefing on Monday, Tony Holohan warned of the dangers of travelling abroad and said that public health officials would not like people from Ireland to do so because of the risk to themselves as individuals and the collective risk posed on their return.

Holohan said that people who had booked foreign trips should not travel at present, despite plans to lift restrictions on international travel from Ireland in the coming weeks.

“Think about other people and the risk you might pose even if you recover very well, for people who are more vulnerable,” Holohan said.

It is anticipated that people in Ireland will be permitted to travel to countries where it is deemed that Covid-19 has been brought under control from 9 July, when a ‘green list’ of countries it is safe to travel to is expected to be issued by the government.

On Tuesday, the EU is set to issue a list of 14 non-EU countries from which visitors will be allowed to enter the EU from tomorrow (1 July).

On the back of Holohan’s comments on Monday, Pat Dawson, CEO of the ITAA, has called on the government to cancel flights out of Ireland and refund all affected passengers.

Speaking on Today with Sarah McInerney on RTÉ Radio One, Dawson said: “The biggest problem is that, the government is saying on one hand to go – in other words, they’re allowing flights to go – and on the other hand saying you’re not to go and you have a quarantine.

“Our solution and our suggestion to the government is that they cancel all those flights and they refund the customers all their money because they are saying you are not to go.”

“The airlines are dictating the pace here,” Dawson added.

“There are 80 flights going from Dublin tomorrow, there are 15 flights from Cork, there are eight or 10 from Shannon and five or seven from Knock.

“So the government is giving permission to fly and yet, on the other hand, they’re saying you’re not to fly.

“If the government says you’re not to go, cancel the flights and refund the money to all those thousands of consumers.”

McInerney suggested that the government can’t just cancel flights scheduled by private airlines, to which Dawson responded: “Well, the government controls the licenses.”

“They are giving permission to fly and they’re saying not fly,” Dawson added.

“The consumer is the meat in the sandwich here.”

The intention behind the suggestion of cancelling the flights, Dawson said, was so consumers would get their money back.

He also called for clarity on safety in airports and on airlines and the criteria used by the government to decide which countries are safe to visit to and which aren’t.

You can listen to the conversation, which also features contributions from public health expert Dr Gabriel Scally and virologist Dr Kim Roberts, in full here.