The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA ) have welcomed the move by the Tánaiste Simon Coveney which has ensured Irish tourists currently in Spain and who want to fly home can do so by midnight Thursday. The Tanaiste engaged with his Spanish counterpart and with Aer Lingus and Ryanair to secure this.
John Spollen, President of the ITAA, said “Irish travel agents would like to thank the Tanaiste for taking swift action to ensure Irish holidaymakers in Spain can get home this week. There was wide concern when a growing number of flights had been grounded in Spain due to preventative measures against the coronavirus. We also welcome Aer Lingus and Ryanair’s commitment to allocate bigger planes to the popular Spanish routes in order to accommodate passengers. Both airlines waiving booking and seat fees for anyone who wants to change a booking from a later flight to one in the coming days is also welcome.”
He continued, “The ITAA now ask the Tanaiste to look at the repatriation of Irish travellers from other countries in the EU and across the world, especially the US.”
The ITAA notes the following from the Department of Foreign Affairs
· The Spanish government has assured Ireland that airports and airspace remain open
· Both Ryanair and Aer Lingus have been in contact with customers via email and social media channels on how to book
· Customers should book or make changes to existing bookings directly with them
· The Department of Foreign Affairs continue to advise Irish citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to Spain
· Spanish airports are asking passengers to travel to the airport in small groups and at their allotted time
· Do not travel to a Spanish airport unless you have a booking
· Anyone returning from Spain should follow HSE advice
The ITAA is advising travellers to read the Department of Foreign Affairs travel advice for the country they are travelling to, which includes entry requirements and a link through to download the DFA Travelwise smartphone app that provides specific travel health advice for countries. Travelwise advises that travellers currently in countries that are reporting cases of Novel Coronavirus, otherwise known as Coronavirus or COVID-19, should follow local public health advice. Travellers should keep up to date on the country advice during their visit.
Enhanced health screening procedures have been put in place at arrival and departure areas in many countries. Travellers should comply with these processes to reduce the risk of exposure. If you are returning from an affected area you should follow the HSE guidelines and self-isolate or self-quarantine if necessary. Holiday makers returning from Spain have been advised to self-isolate for two weeks.