Ryanair will not return to flying if middle seats must be empty

  • Ryanair’s CEO says the airline will not fly if it is forced to keep middle seats empty to maintain social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Michael O’Leary told the Financial Times that the idea would be “entirely ineffective,” making it impossible for the airline to make money while also not keeping passengers far enough apart anyway.
  • “We can’t make money on 66% load factors,” he said, adding: “The middle seat doesn’t deliver any social distancing, so it’s kind of an idiotic idea that doesn’t achieve anything anyway.”
  • Some airlines have said they will keep empty seats between passengers, and the European Union said social-distancing rules would need to be in place. Ryanair is an Irish airline.
  • Ryanair, like most other airlines, has had to ground most of its flights, but O’Leary said it expected most flights to resume this year should a middle-seat rule not be put in place.

It is still unclear whether and how such empty-seat flying will work – but it is already certain that this type of limited operation will not be in line with Ryanair’s commercial model.

Social distance is now part of the measures

Keeping your distance from people you don’t live with in the same household is the basis of temporary measures taken by countries around the world. After the grounding of the air traffic, the airlines began to think that if they started flying again, they wanted to keep this social distance in the cabin as much as possible and thus free up a central place in the rows with three seats.

Easyjet Airlines was the first to announce such a measure, later other large companies such as Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and many others joined.

The CEO of Ryanair, says it won’t fly if middle seats have to stay empty for ‘idiotic’ social-distancing rules

Michael O’Leary told the Financial Times that such action would be “entirely ineffective” — even as experts proposed it and some airlines have agreed to it at least temporarily as a way to keep social distancing in place as countries start to reopen and more flights resume.

O’Leary said the Irish airline’s plans to start flying more would be ruined by “some entirely ineffective social-distancing measures like having middle seats empty — because if middle seats are empty, we’re not returning to flying at all.”

He said the airline had told the Irish government that if it tried to impose such a rule, then “either the government pays for the middle seat or we won’t fly.”

Ryanair plans to fly in July 2020 at the earliest

O’Leary expects to operate 40% of its flights in July (if Ryanair continues to fly) and by the summer of 2021 it expects to exceed traffic level 2019. It also wants to grow at the expense of other airlines that are failing in the coronary crisis. Exit.

Sources: businessinsider.com