RYANAIR chief Michael O'Leary has warned that passengers might be forced to keep wearing face coverings during flights for the remainder of the year, and possibly even into 2022.
Mr O'Leary has been a vocal opponent of lockdown and the impact it's had on the airline and tourism industries.
He's been doing all he can to get planes back in the air, one way or another, so that Ryanair can start making money again.
Ryanair currently requires all passengers to wear face masks for the entire flight, and anyone who refuses is removed from the aircraft. And it looks as if this is set to continue.
"I would imagine at this point in time, we're planning to continue to require mandatory face mask wearing on board our aircraft through the remainder of this summer schedule and next winter's schedule," he said, adding that mask-wearing could remain mandatory until Spring next year unless European authorities lay out new guidelines.
The budget airline is scheduled to resume about 80% of its pre-pandemic capacity this summer in an attempt to keep up with demand from those wishing to take a holiday for the first time in over a year, namely those in the UK due to the country's speedy vaccination rollout.
"Families will be travelling to and from the UK, to and from Europe, going to the beaches of Europe on summer holidays that are richly deserved after the very fraught last 12 months.
"I'm pleased to report that we've had a recent surge in bookings, as the UK began to open up restrictions also, two weeks ago when Germany eased their restrictions on travel ... we've seen a surge in bookings.
"If you're fully vaccinated, frankly, I would be very surprised if there was any legal basis for the Government to prevent people travelling on holidays to other European countries," he added.
The company has taken a massive hit, like almost all airlines, carrying just 33 million passengers in the last 12 months, compared to 154 million in the 12 months prior.
Ryanair revealed that it expects to lose around €900 million this year.