Open letter to Mr Michael O’Leary, Ryanair Group Chief Executive Officer
21st April 2022
Dear Mr O’Leary,
I am writing on behalf of the EU Dog & Cat Alliance. We represent 95 animal welfare organisations operating across the EU and the UK.
Over the last 8 weeks, members of the EU Dog & Cat Alliance, particularly in Romania and Poland, have been working tirelessly to support refugees and their pets who have been fleeing the war in Ukraine. Organisations have set up aid stations at the borders and in train stations across the region to ensure refugees have access to the pet supplies and veterinary care they need before they make their onward journey to safety.
We have been made aware of refugees being unable to continue their journey with their pets on low-cost airlines such as Ryanair because of the blanket no pet policy operated. Unlike other low-cost airlines’ fleets, we understand Ryanair’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft have appropriate climate control to accommodate pets in the hold. Given the sheer volume of refugees fleeing Ukraine with their pets and the need for affordable onward travel, we are urging you to look at the restrictions on pets travelling in the hold on your flights in these specific circumstances.
We understand the priority must be the safe evacuation of people fleeing the conflict and we fully support this. However, we believe consideration should be given to making space within the hold available for their pets. For many refugees fleeing Ukraine, the prospect of continuing their journey without their much-loved pet is unthinkable and, given the importance of this human-animal bond, we strongly believe that they should be allowed to stay together. All IATA Live Travel regulations would of course need to be followed and it is important that both the departure and arrival destination have the suitable animal handling facilities.
We would welcome you reconsidering your policy to ensure that people fleeing Ukraine do not have to make this decision.
We would be happy to meet with you to discuss our request in more detail.
Chair of the EU Dog & Cat Alliance