UK airlines warn quarantine will ‘kill air travel’
Airlines have reacted angrily to government suggestions that the UK could implement a 14-day quarantine for anyone arriving in the country.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said he was “actively looking at these issues so that when we have infection rates within the country under control we’re not importing”.
But Airlines UK said such a measure “would effectively kill air travel”. It warned that the UK risked shutting itself from the rest of the world.
Mr Shapps told the Andrew Marr Programme that as the coronavirus infection rate in the UK decreases, it was important “that we do ensure that the sacrifices…that we’re asking the British people to make are matched by anyone who comes to this country”.
However, Airlines UK, which represents the likes of British Airways, Easyjet, Virgin Atlantic and Ryanair, said a quarantine would “completely shut off the UK from the rest of the world when other countries are opening up their economies”.
Its chief executive, Tim Alderslade, said: “The danger is it would be a blunt tool measure when what the UK should be doing is leading internationally with health and aviation authorities on common standards, including health screening, which will enable our sector to restart and give people assurances that it’s safe to travel.”
Air travel has ground to a halt because of the global coronavirus pandemic, prompting steep jobs cuts by the industry.
Last week, Ryanair said it planned to axe 3,000 workers and ask remaining staff to take a pay cut. BA said it would cut 12,000 of its workforce and warned that it may not reopen at Gatwick once the pandemic passes.