Italian aviation authority tells Ryanair to follow Covid-19 rules or lose permit

Italian aviation authority tells Ryanair to follow Covid-19 rules or lose permit
Check-in desks at Rome's Ciampino airport. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
Italy's national civil aviation authority ENAC threatened on Wednesday to suspend Ryanair's permit to fly in the country over alleged non-compliance with coronavirus safety rules.

It accused the Irish low-cost airline 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”, it said in a statement.

Ryanair denied the claims, stating that it complied with all the Italian government's safety rules.

READ ALSO: 

While airlines flying to and from Italy are allowed to fill planes to capacity, they are supposed to enforce social distancing before and after take-off, including during boarding, at gates, and on shuttle buses carrying passengers to and from the terminal.

They must also ensure that staff and passengers wear face masks throughout flights, changing them every four hours on longer journeys.

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

Alternatively the watchdog could limit the capacity of Ryanair flights to 50 percent, it said, meaning that its planes would have to full no more than half full.

“The claims made in ENAC's press release today are factually incorrect,” Ryanair responded.

“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.”

Some of The Local's readers disagreed, complaining of crowding during boarding and people failing to wear face masks. 

“There wasn't much distancing getting on and off the plane, and the flight was 80 percent full,” said Ryanair passenger Dominic Stewart, who flew from Riga in Latvia to Bergamo at the end of July.

But others told us they were happy with the way Ryanair enforced the rules – and some pointed out that the problems weren't limited to one airline.

“How you’re supposed to do that with 200+ queuing passengers and gates as close to one another as they are I've no idea. Seems airports are going to need a little more real estate!” wrote one of our Facebook followers.

Italy was the first European Union country to be seriously affected by the pandemic, which has officially killed over 35,000, but its contagion rate is currently far below levels seen in other parts of the bloc.


Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.