United Kingdom begins quarantine that will further affect airlines
UK moves forward with two-week quarantine for international arrivals as British Airways and other companies say it will devastate tourism and destroy chances that the summer holiday season may help a recovery from the crisis induced by the virus.
BA, along with EasyJet Plc and Ryanair Holdings Plc, threatened to sue the government over the policy, which went into effect on Monday, saying the restrictions will be ineffective in reducing Covid-19 and threaten to destroy thousands of jobs. Airlines fear the move will cause customers, weary of confinement, to postpone bookings just as airlines add capacity.
"Even those people who would have thought of going on vacation in July or August are now putting off making their reservations as no one really knows how long the rules will last," said John Strickland, director of JLS Consulting in London, who held senior positions at BA and KLM . "Being locked up at home for two weeks after a vacation is something that a lot of people really can't afford to do."
With declining levels of contagion by the virus in most European countries, governments have eased travel restrictions and are opening beaches in places like Greece, Spain and Portugal. Airlines are trying to save the summer season when tens of millions of people generally travel. The UK is one of the top 10 tourist destinations in the world and, last year, attracted over 35 million visitors, spending over $50 billion.
In a “pre-measure” letter to the Home Office, IAG SA, the owner of BA, wrote that the quarantine is stricter than the one applied to people infected with covid-19, and the exemptions for people who They live in Ireland and workers traveling from France and Germany will render it ineffective. Ryanair and EasyJet also signed the letter.
"In our opinion, the Government has not been able to identify a valid justification for the general nature of the regulations, more especially given the extremely severe nature of the self-isolation provisions that are applied," he said.
The Home Office declined to comment on possible legal action, but James Slack, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, told reporters last week that the government wants to work with the airline industry as the UK leaves behind the pandemic.
The government defended the measure, saying it is a key part of the strategy to prevent a second wave of infections that could overwhelm the health system and further devastate the economy.
Under the new rules, travelers will have to give an address in which they must remain isolated before leaving for Britain; Foreign citizens who refuse to say where they will be staying could be denied entry. Authorities will carry out spot checks to ensure compliance and can impose fines of 1,000 pounds ($1,250) on people who violate the rules.