The High Court has ruled that the Government acted lawfully in providing Covid-19 travel advice in a case taken by Ryanair.

The airline had argued that the international travel restrictions were unlawful and described the measures as "absolutely outrageous" and "nonsensical".

In its action against An Taoiseach, Ireland and the Attorney General, Ryanair's principal complaint was that in publishing the travel advice the Government had exceeded its executive powers and trespassed upon the legislative power.

The airline argued that what has been published by the Government goes well beyond travel advice and represents the imposition of restrictions on international travel.

Its lawyers claimed the language used in the Government's public statements was mandatory in nature.

The airline had sought various orders and declarations, including an order setting aside the measures announced in late July.

In a judgment delivered this morning, the High Court said the advice to avoid non-essential travel and to restrict movements on entry to the State is just that - advice.

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Mr Justice Garrett Simons said the Government merely requests that persons entering the State from a country not on the Green List restrict their movements for 14 days and there is no legal requirement to do so.

He said the Government's official websites do not portray the travel advice or health advice as having a legal status.

The judge said the publication of travel advice and public health advice is consistent with European Union law.

He said that Ryanair's principal complaint was that, as a matter of domestic constitutional law, in publishing the travel advice the Government exceeded its executive powers and trespassed upon the legislative power.

Mr Justice Simons said the court had nothing to say on the methodology or criteria by which the Green List of countries had been prepared.

Ryanair's chief executive Eddie Wilson has called on the Government to "immediately adopt the European traffic light system" in light of today's judgment by the High Court that the advice to avoid non-essential travel and to restrict movements on entry to the State is just that - advice. 

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Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Eddie Wilson reiterated that the Government had "abandoned aviation" and "demonised travel" since July 1, "when everybody else has returned to travel."  

He said the Government needs to take advice from the European Centre for Disease Control, instead of the National Public Health Emergency Team.  

"We need action now to support the 140,000 jobs in aviation," the Ryanair CEO said. 

Mr Wilson said the planned closure of bases in Cork and Shannon can be averted if the Government adopts the European approach no later than October 13. 

He said the European traffic light system will give stability and certainty so that people can return to travel and connectivity can be restored. 

Mr Wilson also said there had been no scientific basis to restrict travel. 

"Public health advice in relation to travel has been disproportionate and wrong. The European Centre for Disease Control has had rules on this since July 1 and Ireland has gone off on a tangent," he stated. 

Mr Wilson would not confirm reports about a new order with Boeing for the 737 MAX aircraft, but he said the airline's focus was on a current order for 210 MAX planes returning to service, likely to be in early 2021. 

"We've a current order with Boeing for 210 MAX aircraft, 135 of those firm orders and 75 options. We're working with Boeing at the moment and our priority is to get that order back into service and we expect that to be in early 2021," he said. 

He predicted that air travel will not return to 2019 levels until 2024, adding that people need to be able to "book with confidence" that they will be able to travel to their desired destinations.