Italy threatens to ban Ryanair over coronavirus rule-breaking

CEO Michael O'Leary of Ryanair airlines gives a press conference after a meeting with European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen in Brussels, Belgium, 26 September 2018, as Ryanair's cabin crew will go on strike on Friday, 28 September. Ryanair announced that it will cancel 190 out of their 2,400 scheduled flights affecting nearly 30,000 passengers. [Olivier Hoslet/EPA/EFE]

Italy’s national civil aviation authority ENAC threatened on Wednesday (5 August) 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.

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”.

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.

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