EARLIER this week, Ryanair grounded nearly all of its planes – but it is still operating on a small handful of routes.

The flights are mainly operating between the UK and Ireland, but it is also flying between London and Berlin, Lisbon, Budapest and Eindhoven.

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 Ryanair has grounded nearly all of its planes, but they are still operating on a handful of routes

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Ryanair has grounded nearly all of its planes, but they are still operating on a handful of routesCredit: Getty – Contributor

More than 90 per cent of Ryanair planes are now grounded, with the remaining aircraft used to provide repatriation and rescue flights for various EU Governments.

A statement from the company said: “As most EU countries have imposed flight bans or other restrictions, over 90 per cent of Ryanair’s aircraft will be grounded for the coming weeks. We will comply with these restrictions at all times.

“We are all working with EU Governments to try to keep some minimum flight links open for emergency reasons, even though the passenger loads on these flights will be very low.”

The airline has said it isn’t expecting to operate flights in either April or May – starting up again in June at the earliest.

They said: “The experience in China suggests a 3-month period for the spread of the virus to be contained and reduced.

“We do not expect to operate flights during the months of April and May at this time, but this will clearly depend on government advice.”

From tomorrow (March 27) until next Thursday (April 2), Ryanair will operate daily or weekly flights on the following routes.

To/From the UK

London (STN)  – Dublin

London (GAT) – Dublin

Birmingham – Dublin

Edinburgh – Dublin

Bristol – Dublin

Glasgow – Dublin

Manchester – Dublin

London (STN)  – Eindhoven

London (STN)  – Lisbon

London (STN)  – Cork

London (STN)  – Berlin

London (STN)  – Budapest

To/From Ireland

Dublin – London (STN)

Dublin – London (GAT)

Dublin – Birmingham

Dublin – Bristol

Dublin – Edinburgh

Dublin – Glasgow

Dublin – Manchester

Dublin – Amsterdam

Dublin – Brussels

Dublin – Berlin

Dublin – Lisbon

Dublin – Cologne

Cork – London (STN)

Meanwhile, several major airlines have no spare seats to bring UK passengers home from Spain this week, it has been claimed.

Consumer group Which? said travellers wanting to leave the UK’s most popular holiday destination before it closes hotels tonight as part of a coronavirus shutdown are unable to book flights with Ryanair, easyJet and Jet2.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is urging all British travellers to return to the UK as soon as possible, warning that further closures to air routes may occur without notice.

Last week, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said as many as almost one million British nationals could be travelling abroad.

 Ryanair is so convinced that it won't be flying passengers until June, that it has offered its aircraft to European governments

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Ryanair is so convinced that it won’t be flying passengers until June, that it has offered its aircraft to European governmentsCredit: Alamy

Many are at risk of being stranded due to airlines grounding planes because of a drop in demand and an increase in travel restrictions, although airlines are operating some rescue flights.

Sandra and Lewis Will had a flight booked with Ryanair from Alicante to Aberdeen on Thursday, which was cancelled.

They re-booked for Sunday, only for that flight to also be cancelled.

Ms Will said: “We are in our 70s and I have recently been released from a Spanish hospital after having a mini stroke, so this kind of stress does not help.

“We are in Spain under lockdown, hoping at some point there will be rescue flights for all the abandoned people.”

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Which? advised passengers not to accept a refund from their airline if their flight is cancelled and they still need to get home, as that means the carrier is no longer responsible for re-routing them.

Britons are stranded in countries around the world, including Peru, which closed its borders for at least 15 days from March 16.

The FCO has said it is working with the Peruvian authorities to organise “several repatriation flights”.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel magazine, said: “While it’s right British travellers are being urged to return to the UK, the reality is that there are now thousands of UK residents stranded in dozens of different destinations with no means to get back.

“The Government must improve its communication and provide British citizens fearful of being stranded abroad with useful advice.

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