London – Three major UK airlines have expressed their concern and disapproval about new Coronavirus quarantine policies that came into effect on 08 June.
The policies state that all international arrivals into the United Kingdom are now made to self-isolate for the mandatory 14 day period after their arrival.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new regulation has seen unity for three of the industry’s fiercest rivals. Low-cost carriers easyJet (U2) and Ryanair (FR) have sided with British Airways (BA) in an attempt to end the new restrictions.
Ryanair Chief Executive Officer, Michael O’Leary, said in an interview with Reuters TV that he hoped the courts would hear the emergency legal proceedings by the end of this week.
O’Leary added that regarding the measure, he thinks the courts will “strike it down this week or the government will quietly drop it before the end of June.”
British Airway’s parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG), along with FR and U2 sent a pre-action letter. The letter set out why they believed that the moves imposed are illogical and unfair.
The legal papers that are seeking injunctive relief are due to be filed on June 8 or 9. A lawyer from Signature Litigation, Tom Snelling, said that the government would have to show that there was scientific evidence behind the decision and that it was not purely political.
Irrational, Disproportionate and Unfair
People who break the new restrictions face a fine of US$1,270 (1000GBP). However, the three airlines believe that the new measures are ineffective as passengers can board public transport after their arrival and that the measures are equally as hard to enforce.
Chief Executive Officer of IAG, Willie Walsh, told LBC Radio that the airlines would argue that the new restrictions were irrational. ON his part, Chief Executive Officer of easyJet, Johan Lundgren added that the new legislation had been rushed through and that it was “not in proportion.”
However, despite various letters from different airlines, the UK’s Home Office has defended its decision, claiming that it was based on scientific evidence and that it would be crucial to preventing a second peak of the virus.
Home Secretary Priti Patel expressed how people want to return to normal as soon as possible but added that “this cannot be at the expense of lives.” It was also added that “the science is clear that if we limit the risk of new cases from being brought in from abroad, we can help stop a devastating second wave.”
It was also announced that the new quarantine restrictions will be reviewed every three weeks. The government has also said that it was looking at the possibility of so-called “air bridges” that would allow travel between two countries without the need for quarantine.
Posters with details of the new requirements are displayed at all UK airports and airlines are expected to remind passengers of the restrictions but not to enforce them per se.
Director-General of the UK Border Force, Paul Lincoln, said that border force officials were “prepared and ready” for the new measures introduced today.
More details can be found on the UK Government’s website.