Ryanair has called for the removal of all travel restrictions from the end of May for air travel between Ireland and both the UK and EU.

The airline said the reducing numbers of people in hospital with Covid-19, coupled with the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine, means restrictions including hotel quarantine should end.

"Thanks to the success of the UK's vaccine program, there is no justification for requiring visitors to Ireland from the UK (our major visitor market) to quarantine," said Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson.

"The vast majority of the UK adult population have now received their first dose vaccination, and therefore pose no threat or risk to Ireland’s hospitals or health service."

Ryanair also said because most of Europe is on track to vaccinate 80% of its adult population with first doses by the end of June, restrictions on travel within the EU could also be lifted from the end of the month.

"Ireland's travel restrictions are now outdated, inappropriate and unnecessary for air travel to/from the UK, and the European Union, where successful vaccination programs have eliminated any risk to our hospitals and health services," Mr Wilson said.

The Ryanair CEO told Morning Ireland that given the increasing numbers of people vaccinated and the fact that travel has resumed in Europe, Ireland needs to act now and give certainty to the aviation industry.

He said that "aviation needs those signposts now" to indicate that "we can get back to normality".

Mr Wilson said that mandatory hotel quarantine for travellers from France and Belgium needs to end immediately, but said Ryanair is not opposed to quarantine for travellers from outside of the EU.

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences
He said that travel to the UK needs to resume immediately as the UK has the most highly-vaccinated population in Europe and due to the shared border.

The rest of Europe has opened up and Ireland should follow suit, he added.

Mr Wilson said the digital passport will not affect most of Europe who can travel freely across the continent and he claimed the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly "is hiding behind the digital passport".

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said he will be making the case for the lifting of travel restrictions between the UK and Ireland in the coming months, but no date has been specified.

The Taoiseach has also said that Ireland will join the EU's digital green certificate system, opening up the prospect of travel within the union by the end of the summer.

But Ryanair wants action long before then.

"It’s time our Government got the country and our tourism industry back to work, and we call again on Minister Eamon Ryan to action the Aviation Task Force Report he received in July 2020," Mr Wilson said.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said today that the Government expected to issue the digital green certs by the end of July.

But he ruled out quickly returning to international travel following today's call from Ryanair to ease restrictions.

Ryanair shares rose in Dublin trade today.