Europe’s largest carrier, Ryanair, has delayed the resumption of its operations in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina until August as a result of the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. The carrier will reinstate flights from Niš Constantine the Great Airport on August 2 and plans to keep all four of its destinations from the city at this point. Operations from Banja Luka will restart on August 1, with its new flights to Bergamo in Italy still scheduled to commence at the start of the 2020/2021 winter season on October 26. Ryanair’s subsidiary, Lauda, intends on launching its delayed new service from Vienna to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s second largest city on July 3, according to Ex-Yu Aviation news.
The airports in both Niš and Banja Luka remain closed. Constantine the Great Airport is expected to open within the next month, while all of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s airports will remain closed until at least June 1. Ryanair is Serbia’s second busiest low cost airline by market share behind Wizz Air and Bosnia’s fourth busiest. Elsewhere in the region, the budget carrier plans on resuming some of its flights to Croatia and Montenegro in July, albeit with reduced frequencies. Since the Covid-19 flight restrictions in mid-March, Ryanair has been operating a skeleton daily schedule of thirty flights between Ireland, the UK and Europe. From July, Ryanair will restart flying from most of its eighty bases across the continent. There will be fewer daily/weekly frequencies on trunk routes, as Ryanair works to restore some services on the widest number of routes, rather than operating high frequency services on a small number. Approximately 40% of the airline’s schedule will resume in July.
Ryanair’s CEO, Eddie Wilson, said, “Governments around Europe have implemented a four-month lockdown to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus. After four months, it is time to get Europe flying again so we can reunite friends and families, allow people to return to work, and restart Europe’s tourism industry, which provides so many millions of jobs”. He added, “Ryanair will work closely with public health authorities to ensure that these flights comply, where possible, with effective measures to limit the spread of Covid-19. As already shown in Asia, temperature checks and face masks/coverings are the most effective way to achieve this on short haul (one hour) within Europe’s single market. Now that Europe’s states are allowing some gradual return to normal life, we expect this will evolve over the coming weeks and months”.