Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Ryanair cancels all flights to Morocco until February after Omicron ban

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A general view of Ryanair plane at FesSais Airport located about 13 km from the city center of Fez.
The airline said it would not fly to or from the north African nation until February 2022 at the earliest (Picture: NurPhoto)

Ryanair is cancelling all of its flights to and from Morocco until February amid confusion over the country’s travel ban.

The airline says it has been ‘forced’ into the move until at least February 1, 2022, over ‘a lack of clarity from the Moroccan Government’.

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The north African nation banned all arriving flights from November 29 to December  13 – but Ryanair says the Moroccan authorities are ‘yet to engage’ with airlines on what happens after that date.

Israel and Japan have brought in similarly severe bans.

Morocco’s government has not indicated whether the ban will be extended.

It comes amid growing global concern around the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 and as countries bring in a series of new travel restrictions to reduce transmission.

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Morocco reported just 90 cases in the last 24 hours – compared to more than 50,000 in the UK.

Ryanair Boeing 737-800 aircraft as seen taking off and flying in the blue sky from Eindhoven Airport EIN.
Ryanair has been accused of flying ‘ghost planes’ to avoid Covid refunds – at huge environmental cost (Picture: REX)

Ryanair says 160,000 of its customers have been impacted so far, adding that a further 230,000 passengers will also face disruption after it scrapped its planned flights.

The airline has reportedly flown ‘ghost flights’ with no one on board during the pandemic – seemingly to avoid paying refunds and at great environmental cost.

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It was also branded ‘outrageous’ for banning passengers who asked for refunds on flights disrupted by Covid.

But now it says it ‘deeply regrets’ the cancellation of its Morocco flights.

Passengers impacted by the move have been contacted and made aware of their options, which Ryanair say includes ‘a free flight move or refund’.

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Ryanair’s Director of Commercial, Jason McGuinness, said: ‘We deeply regret this disruption to our passengers from these cancelled Morocco flights until 1st February 2022, due to a lack of clarity from the Moroccan authorities on what to expect beyond their initial travel ban ruling to 13th December.

‘Ryanair complies with all Govt travel restrictions, however the on again / off again travel rulings, means we have been regrettably forced to cancel all flights to/from Morocco until 1st February 2022.

‘Ryanair regrets the unnecessary disruption caused and apologises to all of our passengers for this outcome, which is entirely beyond our control.’

Omicron case numbers in the UK hit 336 on Monday, when Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed there was community transmission of the variant.

Currently 11 African countries are on the UK’s reinstated red list, following Omicron’s emergence. Morocco is not one of them.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

MORE : Covid vaccine co-creator issues stark warning over Omicron

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