Budget airline Ryanair has announced it will remove up to 1,000 flights from its UK-Ireland routes in August and September.
It blamed coronavirus measures imposed in Ireland for the decision to suspend the services, accusing Dublin of “maintaining a defective quarantine restriction on EU visitors”.
The airline said in a statement: “Last week when the UK and Northern Ireland removed travel restrictions on short-haul flights to/from the European Union, Ireland became the only country in the EU with a blanket 14-day quarantine restriction on all arrivals from EU countries, most of which have lower Covid case rates than Ireland.
“Air travel between Ireland and the UK is being badly damaged by this ineffective 14-day quarantine.
“Ryanair will significantly reduce its flights between Ireland and the UK in August and September, to reflect this suppressed demand.”
Dr Ronan Glynn, of Ireland’s Public Health ministry, said: “From a public health perspective, mandatory quarantine would clearly be a desirable measure but there are wider implications and wider considerations for Government in decision making around the issue of mandatory quarantine.
“From our perspective, anyone coming into the country should be coming into this country should be restricting their movements.
“I don’t think it is reasonable in the context of a pandemic that could go on for several months to say we can shut down travel completely. From a public health perspective, we want to stop as much if not all non-essential travel if at all possible.
“If there is a small number of countries identified that has a similar profile in terms of the virus to ourselves, then from a public health perspective we wouldn’t be concerned about that small list of countries.”