Ryanair has initiated legal proceedings against Ireland, questioning the legality of travel restrictions that have kept a quarantine policy in place for all but 15 countries, the airline has said.
The Irish carrier, Europe’s largest budget airline, said it had begun the action to challenge what it described as the Irish government’s “ineffective” green list of countries, for which a 14-day quarantine requirement does not apply.
Ireland has taken a more cautious approach to reopening its economy and skies than many European countries.
The green list, announced on July 22, contained some popular destinations Ryanair flies to, such as Italy and Greece, but not others including Britain, France and Spain.
This list is due to be reviewed next week and is unlikely to be enlarged.
Asked about reports of a potential challenge by Ryanair on Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said the government would wait to see what case the airline made but that the advice from the authorities on travel was clear.
The Irish Independent newspaper reported that Ryanair would seek a judicial review and argue the list was not provided for in legislation and parliament was denied the opportunity to scrutinise it when it was put in place by way of public announcement.
IAG, which owns Irish airline Aer Lingus, has joined as a notice party to the proceedings, meaning it could be heard in court argument, chief executive Willie Walsh told Irish national broadcaster RTE.
Irishman Walsh said he understand the need for the measures, but was challenging its blanket application.
Ryanair, IAG and easyJet launched a similar challenge against the British government last month, but said they would end the action after London scrapped its 14-day quarantine rule for travellers coming from some of the most popular tourist destinations.