British Airways owner IAG is considering launching a legal challenge against the UK quarantine rules which are due to come into effect on Monday.
The planned 14 days quarantine order which is said to start on Monday, has generated a lot of controversies between major stakeholders in the aviation sector.
In fact, About two weeks ago, The UK tourism sector appealed to the government to scrap 14days quarantine plans, while Ryanair ridiculed the idea earlier this week, saying that it would be unenforceable. Now, IAG has joined calls against the quarantine saying in a letter to MPs that the new policy would “torpedo” the airline’s planned July recovery during this unprecedented situation.
The dramatic move marks another sign of a breakdown in relations between British airline and the UK government.
IAG boss Willie Walsh told Sky News that airlines had not been consulted on the 14-day quarantine period for people arriving in the UK.
He said he expected other airlines to also mount legal challenges.
“We think it’s irrational, we think it’s disproportionate and we are giving consideration to a legal challenge to this legislation, so we’re reviewing that with the lawyers later on today,” Mr Walsh told Sky News.
“I suspect there are other airlines who are doing so because it’s important to point out there was no consultation with the industry prior to enacting this legislation and we do believe it is an irrational piece of legislation.”
Airlines, holiday firms and other stakeholders in the travel and tourism industry have been arguing against this two-week quarantine period for anyone arriving in the UK as from 8 June. Travelers to the UK will be required to isolate for 14 days or face a £1,000 fine.
The government has said that the period is needed to “keep the transmission rate down and prevent a devastating second wave” of coronavirus, emphasizing that the test result will be out within 24 hours.
However, industry body Airlines UK has said quarantine “would effectively kill off air travel”.
A report from the BBC also said a group of 200 travel companies had written to Home Secretary Priti Patel asking for the plans to be scrapped.
The letter said travel could be possible for people – without quarantine – between destinations “deemed safe from coronavirus”.
The so-called “air bridges” would allow visitors from countries where coronavirus infection rates are low into the UK, without having to self-isolate.
It is understood that the government is working on a list of countries it is hoping to secure air bridge agreements with, which include all major European tourist destinations such as Portugal, Spain, and France as well as Australia and Singapore.