08:29 GMT11 April 2021
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    The Irish low-cost carrier promised to drop prices for the next six to 12 months to get people flying again following months of limited or no travel in Europe and globally due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary told the Transport Select Committee on Wednesday that the company hoped to fly up to 70 percent of 2019 passenger numbers this summer.

    "We would be hopeful that we could fly maybe 60, 70% of our normal traffic volumes during the peak summer months – June, July, August, and September," rising to around 80-90 percent in the winter, O'Leary said. 

    A Conservative MP Greg Smith asked O'Leary how many passengers are content to obtain a PCR test 72 hours before departure.

    The Ryanair boss said it depends on the type of bookings. As opposed to pre-planned travel, the so-called instantaneous trips, decided at short notice, are some 20% of Ryanair business and are sensitive to PCR tests.

    Labour MP Lilian Greenwood raised the issue of refunds for flights that passengers were unable to take due to Covid-19 during the committee session.

    “Michael O'Leary is confident that almost no Ryanair passengers are owed a refund and blames "screen scrapers" for a small number of outstanding refunds,” the committee heard.

    Covid, Vaccines & Tourism 

    On 2 March, the carrier reported that its February traffic was down 95 percent, totalling only 500,000 passengers.

    The impact of the coronavirus has seen international flights drop sharply in the past year.

    For the week starting 4 January 2021, scheduled flights worldwide were down by 43.5 percent compared to the week of 6 January 2020. 

    For countries which rely heavily on tourism, the upcoming summer holiday season is crucial.

    Spain’s Tourism Minister Fernando Valdés said there are plans to create a "green corridor" for vaccinated British tourists in the summer, provided the European Union does not agree on a coronavirus vaccine passports policy.

    “Right now we have discussions with our colleagues in the UK. For us the British market is our main market. But obviously since we are a member of the European Union, the solutions have first to be part of the discussions with the EU,” Valdés said.

    “And obviously if that cannot be reached, we will be thinking of other corridors like green corridors with third countries that can help us restart tourism flows,” he added.

    In January the Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said that digital vaccination certificates would help alleviate Covid restrictions for Europeans.

    “This is especially true for our tourism and the prospects for our economy, especially considering the summer season,” he said.
    UK, Spain, Greece, travel, Ryanair
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