Ryanair flights are expected to be out of service until June due to the coronavirus crisis, chief executive Michael O’Leary revealed today.

Ryanair, Europe’s largest budget airline group,  expects to ground most of its flights from today (Tuesday).

The carrier’s office staff have been reduced by half to ensure social distancing.

However, aircraft are being offered for use by governments on rescue flights.

O’Leary said: “At this time, no one knows how long this Covid shutdown will last.

“The experience in China suggests a three-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 upon government advice, and we will in all cases comply with these instructions.”

He added: “While the immediate future is uncertain, it is important to remember that, like all pandemics, this crisis will pass.

“Our governments and health agencies are taking unprecedented action, but they require our support, so by working together we can all help to eliminate Covid-19 and allow our lives to return to normality.

“In Ryanair, Buzz, Lauda, and Malta Air, we will do everything we can to keep our aircraft, our crews, and our engineering teams operational so that when Europe defeats this Covid-19 pandemic, we are ready to return to flying, to allow Europe’s citizens to go back to work, to visit friends/family, and to rebuild Europe’s tourism industry, upon which so many millions of jobs and families depend.

“Rest assured that we and the 18,000 aviation professionals in the Ryanair group of airlines will do everything we can to support our governments, our people, and our customers during these unprecedented times.”