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Ryanair to fly migrants without visas

Budget airline Ryanair says it plans to flout EU rules by allowing asylum seekers without visas to board flights from several airports in southeastern Europe to Belgium, Italy, France, Spain, Denmark and Germany.

A RyanFair campaign from October 12 will ignore a 2001 European Council directive that penalises airlines for failing to ensure that passengers have the right to enter their destination country, the company said.

The waiver will apply to non-EU passengers "for whom the EU asylum right is applicable, and who will produce at the RyanFair desks a preliminary documentation concerning the chance of obtaining asylum in the countries of destination", it said.

The airline plans to open RyanFair desks in Kos, Greece; Podgorica, Montenegro; Bratislava, Slovakia; and Budapest, Hungary.

"We decided to open to refugees our routes from Greece and East Europe, violating a rule that simply dumps government responsibilities on the carriers," said Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair's chief marketing officer.

"We will proudly cover all the costs of this violation," Jacobs said.

"We want to give our small contribution to healing the suffering for thousands of refugees who were forced to abandon their homes and flee for their lives."

He said Ryanair hoped other airlines will "join us in this campaign, and force the EU to come together and agree to a plan to tackle the refugee crisis".