The CEO of Ryanair, Michael O’Leary, says his planes will not fly if the airline is forced to leave the middle seat empty in order to comply with in-flight social distancing rules.
The comments from O’Leary come after rivals easyJet announced it would keep middle seats empty. In contrast to easyJet, O’Leary believes leaving the middle seat vacant is “idiotic” as it doesn’t deliver any proper social distancing and will therefore be of no benefit.
Concerned his airline’s finances would suffer as a result of his aircraft being less full, the Ryanair chief executive insists European airlines should instead implement different safety procedures, such as forcing all passengers to wear masks.
The IATA state that any distancing rules designed to minimise the spread of coronavirus infection in the skies could force low-cost carriers to raise fares by as much as 50% or risk collapse. Effectively, bringing an end to cheap air travel.
Believing Ryanair may be able to benefit from the collapse of its rivals, O’Leary continues by saying he expects his airline to run about 80% of its flights by September, provided the middle seat rule does not come become compulsory.
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