The boss of Europe's biggest airline today vowed to slash prices to give people confidence to fly again despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary believed passengers would take to the air once they were vaccinated.

Asked what he thought would make people “happy to get back on an aircraft again”, he told the Commons Transport Select Committee: “The feedback is pretty conclusive from our customers.

"Firstly, they want low prices – and they will get those certainly for the first six or nine months of recovery because our forward bookings are so much lower than they have been historically.

"Secondly, they want to feel a welcome, that they're not unwelcome – that's the combination of getting rid of this hotel quarantine, which are completely unpoliceable and ineffective anyway.”

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary believed passengers would take to the air once they were vaccinated
Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary believed passengers would take to the air once they were vaccinated

The government is yet to confirm whether or how people will be allowed to travel out of the country, with no change expected before May 17 at the earliest.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is leading a task force that is due to report back on the outlook by April 12, in order to give people time to plan and book getaways.

It is possible that hotel quarantine - or at-home quarantine - for Brits returning from abroad could remain into the summer.

But signalling a bumper summer for the carrier, Mr O'Leary told how passengers were keen to jet off to sunshine destinations last summer, when travel reopened.

“There was a huge collapse in hospitalisations, serious illness and deaths during the months of May, June, July, August, September, when people were travelling on holidays,” he said.

“That combination of vaccines and the fact that this respiratory disease that does seem to limit its spread during the summer months gives us a high degree of confidence.

"While still keeping in place certain measures; we would still require people to wear a face mask on board the aircraft even if you’ve been vaccinated – the Government and citizenry can feel reasonably safe about arranging their holidays, whether that's in Scotland or Spain or Portugal this summer.”

Airport Operators Association chief executive Karen Dee told MPs: “There is demand out there, and when people know that they can have the opportunity to travel, a lot of people having been stuck for 12 months will be keen to have holidays.”

Meanwhile Mr O'Leary told the Transport Select Committee that the Civil Aviation Authority is taking "criminal proceedings" against the airline because it carried passengers with pre-departure coronavirus test results written in Italian and Germany.

March 8: Schools reopen, up to two people can meet in the park for a coffee or picnic, and hand-holding care home visits can resume with one named visitor after tests and PPE.

March 29: Outdoor socialising rules relaxed so up to six people or two households (whichever is larger) can meet outdoors. Golf, tennis, outdoor organised sport and lidos resume. Stay at home order ends but people still advised to stay local and overnight stays not allowed.

STEP 2 - April 12 at the earliest: Non-essential shops, hairdressers, gyms, and outdoor areas of pubs and restaurants reopen. No curfew or 'Scotch egg' rule but punters must stay seated and obey general rules on gathering sizes. Review to report back on possibility of foreign holidays but they're still banned at this point. Driving lessons resume, and wedding guests up from 6 to 15. Self-contained domestic holidays allowed with your own household or bubble only.

STEP 3 - May 17 at the earliest: Outdoor gatherings limit lifted from 6 people to 30. Indoor gatherings of up to 6 people or two households, and overnight stays allowed for the first time. Review to rule on whether you can hug friends and family but general social distancing remains. Foreign travel may be allowed. Indoor areas of pubs and restaurants reopen, as do hotels and B&Bs. Stadium events and theatre can resume at reduced capacity. Weddings limit lifted from 15 to 30, receptions allowed along with Bar Mitzvahs and other life events. Saunas and steam rooms reopen.

STEP 4 - June 21 at the earliest: Government hoping to remove all remaining legal restrictions - and reopen nightclubs and standing-only gigs - but will depend on review of wider social distancing rules and of vaccine and testing passports. Masks and hand-washing instructions may remain as may the two-metre rule in some situations or a testing regime. For a full guide click here.

Government regulations state that test results must be written in either English, French or Spanish.

Mr O'Leary said: "We the airline are facing criminal proceedings for bringing people into the UK, with Italian and German PCR tests validly done because they're not in the Spanish, French or English language.

"It's this kind of bonkers, non-joined up regulation which is designed to make bureaucrats at the Department of Health look like they've done something.

"Whereas in reality it's completely nonsensical because it's confined to three languages. So, regulation is not the way forward."