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Ryanair expands summer schedule in holiday gamble

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

The budget airline plans to run more than 2,300 flights across 480 routes, including 26 new routes, this summer.

The Summer 2021 schedule includes flights to holiday hotspots such as Corfu, Santorini, Menorca, Ibiza, Faro and the Canary Islands, as well as to Europe’s top cities including Barcelona, Lisbon, Naples, Rome and Venice.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary told Sky News he was expecting holidays to go ahead from June, and described the media speculation over whether holidays will be allowed as “hysteria”.

However, this week has seen the government propose a £5,000 fine for anyone who tries to go on holiday, amid rising coronavirus cases across Europe.

However, O’Leary denied the move was “a gamble” and cited holiday destinations such as Greece, Spain and Portugal as welcoming to vaccinated UK holidaymakers.

Ryanair announced earlier this week that it was expanding its zero change fee offer so that if passengers book by 30 June, they can change their bookings for free up until 31 October.

Flight change fees normally start at €35 per person per flight, and vary depending on the route and travel dates selected. But Ryanair introduced the fee waiver last summer.

To kick start bookings Ryanair has launched a seat sale with fares from £19.99 for travel until the end of October – but these sale prices must be booked by midnight Sunday 28 March on the Ryanair website.

Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s Group CEO, said: “The UK government has implemented a very successful vaccine rollout programme, and is on track for a re-opening of EU short-haul travel this summer. Ryanair is pleased to offer even more choice and lower fares to our UK customers and their families with over 2,300 weekly flights and 480 routes to choose from, including 26 exciting new holiday connections to Naples, Rhodes, Chania, Alicante and Mallorca among many others.

“UK families can now book a well-earned summer holiday safe in the knowledge that if their plans change for any reason they can move their travel dates up to two times with a zero-change fee up until the end of October 2021.”