Michael "Ryanair" O'Leary is wary of the mooted plan to leave some aeroplane seats empty to allow for social distancing on flights and aid a return to our former jetset lifestyles, as he says it's an "idiotic" idea and would only consider it if the government offered to pick up the bill for all the empty seats.
O'Leary was speaking to the FT, when he said he's extremely unhappy with the concept of "...entirely ineffective social distancing measures like having middle seats empty" and added that if this is enforced he's "...not returning to flying at all." The boss of the flier added: "We can't make money on 66 per cent load factors. Even if you do that, the middle seat doesn't deliver any social distancing, so it's kind of an idiotic idea that doesn't achieve anything anyway."
As for timetables and plans, O'Leary's working on the assumption that travel bans may be lifted by July, when Ryanair might run 40 per cent of its flights, with those planes perhaps 60 per cent full at best, as we're unlikely to all want to sit in a sealed tube with other people on the same weekend. This best case scenario would see 80 per cent of flights back by September, fuelled by massive price cuts to encourage people to belt-up once more, and Ryanair hoping to profit from the collapse of some rival airlines. [FT via BBC]