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Italy threatens to ban Ryanair for breaking covid-19 rules

Ryanair faces suspension in Italy over alleged “repeated violations” of covid-19 regulations.

Italy's civil aviation authority ENAC has threatened to suspend Ryanair's permit to fly in the country for allegedly not respecting safety regulations aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus, reports Italian news agency ANSA.

The Irish low-cost airline is accused of "repeated violations of the covid-19 health regulations currently in force and imposed by the Italian government to protect the health of passengers."

"Not only is the obligation to distance passengers not respected, but the conditions for making an exception to that rule are also being ignored", ENAC said in a statement.

If Ryanair continued to break the rules ENAC would "suspend all air transport activities at national airports, requiring the carrier to re-route all passengers already in possession of tickets."

Airlines are exempt from running at 50 per cent of capacity, to ensure social distancing of one metre between passengers, but only if they respect a series of additional rules.

ENAC accuses Ryanair of failing to enforce these rules, which include the wearing of masks, reports ANSA.

Ryanair subsequently requested Wanted in Rome to publish the following statement:

“Ryanair is committed to the highest level of safety for our passengers and crew at all times. Ryanair’s “Healthy Flying” procedures are in line with the safety recommendations & measures set out by the Italian Government and also the European Safety Agency (EASA) & European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC). These include:

All passengers are encouraged to check-in online, and the boarding process is now contactless to avoid unnecessary contact at airports. Ryanair has also implemented specific boarding procedures to avoid unnecessary gathering of passengers both at boarding gates and onboard the aircraft. Ryanair strictly limits carry-on baggage to further reduce passengers congregating while putting bags in overhead lockers. The airline operates a reduced in-flight service, accepts only contactless payments to minimise interaction between passengers and crew. On arrival, our crew instruct passengers on procedures to ensure that no unnecessary gathering occurs during disembarkation.

All Ryanair passengers and crew must wear facemasks at all times throughout the flight. All of our aircraft are fitted with state of the art HEPA filters – which remove airborne particles at a rate similar to hospital filtration systems.

The claims made in ENAC’s press release today are factually incorrect. Ryanair complies fully with the measures set out by the Italian government and our customers can rest assured that we are doing everything to reduce interaction on both our aircraft and at airports to protect the health of our passengers when flying Ryanair.”

Photo credit: AlinaL / Shutterstock.com

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