Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline, is under investigation by the UK Advertising Standards Agency after a ‘jab and go’ ad campaign promoting air travel as coronavirus vaccines are rolled out attracted more than a thousand complaints.
The ad on the airline’s website features an image of a syringe and vial branded “vaccine,” along with the slogans “summer book,” “vaccines are coming,” and “jab & go,” accompanied by promotions for cheap flights.
An ASA spokesperson told CNN in a statement that the whistleblowers objected that the announcement “misleadingly suggests that the vaccine will have been successfully deployed in the population by spring / summer and that travel restrictions will not apply by then.”
The whistleblowers also found the ad “offensive and irresponsible,” he said, adding: “In their view, it trivializes the effect of the pandemic on people and society.”
The ASA has launched a formal investigation into the airline and will publish the findings “in due course,” the spokesperson added.
CNN has reached out to Ryanair for comment.
The first COVID-19 vaccines are already being rolled out in some countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, but most of the population will likely have to wait months before receiving their injections.
For citizens of other countries, the wait could be even longer.
The aviation industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with airlines struggling to entice customers to travel amid legal travel restrictions and people’s reluctance to fly.
Numerous airlines have closed, while profit and loss reports for the third quarter of the year reveal just how much the remaining airlines have been affected by the pandemic.
North American passenger jet arrivals fell 48 percent year-on-year, according to December figures released by aviation analytics company Cirium, while Latin America barely improved, down 46 percent.
Meanwhile, Europe’s numbers have been devastated: more than 70% less, year after year.
Even in Asia Pacific, which has controlled the pandemic better than other regions, arrivals are still more than 30% lower now than at this time last year.
Hopeful pilot sign in the sky