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Ryanair – We Will Not Fly if We Have to Leave Seats Empty

Ryanair’s president, Michael O’Leary warned today that the Irish low-cost airline would not resume flying if they have to leave the middle seats in each row empty to comply with social distancing.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Michael O’Leary said he has already warned the Irish government that if they plan to introduce such rules they will “have to pay for the middle seat or the company will not fly.” Defiantly stating “we cannot make money from a 66% occupancy rate. While leaving the middle seats, unoccupied does not guarantee enough distance, and it is a stupid idea that leads to nothing.”

The low-cost airline, which has grounded 99% of its aircraft due to the pandemic has already warned shareholders that profits are ‘below expectations.’ He went on to say that Ryanair was financially sound, with creditable assets and no debts.

This announcement comes after EasyJet admitted last week of the possibility of leaving the middle seats empty in an initial phase of resumption of flights.  Ryanair’s competitor EasyJet has secured enough money to cover them for nine months, by obtaining two billion pounds of financing, including a 600 million pound loan from the Treasury and the Bank of England as part of the emergency fund to cope with the effects of the new coronavirus.

For its part, British Airways decided to lay the majority of its workers off. At the same time, Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson has asked the British government to help the struggling company, which could go bankrupt.

Samantha Gannon
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