Aer Lingus CEO Sean Doyle has called for quarantine restrictions for people travelling to Ireland to be removed by the end of this month so that the airline can operate some of its short-haul services in July and August to help "reboot" tourism in the country.
Speaking to The Irish Times, Doyle said, "There is a decent degree of demand that we would see coming through if there was clarity around quarantine and travel policies.
"We need to reboot the economy. Tourism is very important, connectivity is very important…we see other countries doing it effectively like Spain and Portugal and we see no reason why Ireland shouldn't become part of that framework and process."
"A Pathway To Having A Summer Season"
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Initially, Aer Lingus wants to resume some services to German and Dutch cities, and to sun destinations in Spain and Portugal. At present, Aer Lingus is operating 5% of its regular services, with some flights running to the UK, New York, Boston and Chicago. The airline is currently operating out of Dublin, Cork and Belfast airports.
Doyle stated, "We have a number of European services that we would look to operate in July and August. The policies around travel advisories and quarantine are pretty important to us finalising what the travel programme might look like. It won't be as big, obviously, as in previous seasons, but there is a pathway to having a summer season for economies where tourism is critical, and I would argue that Ireland is one of those economies."
Several days ago, Aer Lingus revealed an assortment of new measures that it is introducing at airports and on-board its aircraft to help protect the health of its customers and staff.
Talking about the steps passengers will face when flying with Aer Lingus going forward, Doyle told The Irish Times, "The first thing we would encourage everyone to do is use automated check-in and automated bag drops. You will be required to check in more luggage and that will mitigate the interaction of people putting bags in the overhead lockers.
"Number two, come to the airport prepared, allow a bit more time because there will be social distancing practised at the airport, so it may take longer to get through.
"Bring your face covering because that is mandated now on Aer Lingus. We'll also be boarding with new processes, by seat-row number, to minimise the level of interaction as people are boarding. When we are onboard, our crew will be wearing masks and we will be offering a reduced level of in-flight service.
"We will be disembarking by seat-row number as well, in a very controlled manner. We will deep clean our aircraft every evening and we will disinfect all surfaces and all areas of the cabin using hospital grade disinfectant."
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