RYANAIR is not planning to reduce capacity flying to Spain, despite the British government advising against all non-essential travel to the country's mainland due to COVID-19.

The airline's Chief Financial Officer Neil Sorahan made the announcement today, calling downing Street's decision "regrettable."

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On Saturday, the government abruptly imposed a two-week quarantine on all travellers arriving from Spain after a surge of coronavirus cases, a dramatic and sudden reversal to the opening of the European continent to tourism after months of lockdown.

Brits returning from Spain to the UK who have to unexpectedly quarantine for two weeks face losing cash – and they cannot claim sick pay.

Mr Sorahan told Reuters: "I think it is regrettable, very disappointing.

"I have no doubt that we will see other localised outbreaks and we need to be flexible enough to deal with them as they arise over the next number of weeks and months."

Asked if Ryanair would reduce capacity between the two countries, Mr Sorahan said "we have no plans to cut capacity in the medium term," and maintained that the Spanish government had made clear that the country remained open for tourist.

He also predicted that many Brits would choose to travel regardless of the new 14-day quarantine, telling Radio 4's Today programme:"The Balearics and the Canary islands remain relatively free of infection, so I think a lot of people will probably take the decision to travel in any event.

"As things stand, the market remains open, the schedules remain in place
and we will continue to operate in and out of Spain as normal.

"At the moment, we're operating about 40 per cent of our capacity across
90 per cent of our network and we would hope to increase that to about 60 per cent of capacity in August and, all going well, up to 70 per cent in
September."

Any Ryanair customers looking to change their flights after the new government ruling will still have to pay a flight change fee, he added – unless they booked in the last two weeks.

The Spanish government will focus its efforts on trying to persuade Britain to exclude popular travel destinations Balearic and Canary islands from the quarantine measure, the foreign ministry had said.

TUI, Europe's biggest holiday company, said on Sunday it had decided to cancel all holidays to mainland Spain up to and including Sunday August 9.

Will France and Germany join Spain on UK’s quarantine list? We look at the countries most at risk of being shut next.

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