Leo Varadkar “optimistic” air travel for leisure will resume by the end of the year
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he is “more optimistic than others” that air travel for business and leisure will resume before the end of this year.
Operations at airports around the globe in recent weeks and months have been dramatically scaled down as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, while a number of airlines, including Ryanair, have had to implement large-scale job losses and pay cuts.
In Dublin Airport, passenger numbers are down by 99% and the vast majority of flights that go through the airport are to assist with the repatriation of Irish citizens from abroad and facilitate the import and export of vital medical supplies and other essential goods and cargo.
The aviation industry is in a period of huge uncertainty at present, but speaking during Leaders’ Statements in the Dáil on Thursday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he is hopeful that air travel for both business and leisure could resume before the end of this year.
“I am keen to see a return to international air travel as soon as feasible,” Varadkar said.
“There is lot of work to do but I am more optimistic than others that air travel for business and leisure will resume this year.
“Currently there is important work being done by European Commission and various aviation safety agencies and I hope to give an update on this to the Dáil in the weeks ahead.”
Last month, Adina Valean, European Commissioner for Transport, revealed plans for the European Commission to present rules for the safe reopening of air travel by the middle of May, rules that will apply when restrictions on air travel are eased in EU countries.
Those rules are likely to include social distancing measures in airports and on board planes, the wearing of face masks, the disinfection of planes and airports and a requirement to leave the middle seat vacant on flights.