Frictions are rising between British Airways and the UK government over the 14-day quarantine period for travellers arriving into the country and the airline is now said to be seriously considering taking legal action.
British Airways had previously refused to attend a meeting with the Home Secretary discussing the quarantine legislation, which IAG boss Willie Walsh has called “irrational” and “disproportionate”. Walsh is also furious that no airlines were consulted on the two-week self-isolation rules before plans were made public.
The UK government is adamant that the new policy will keep transmission rates of coronavirus down and help prevent a second wave. However, many airlines and holiday firms have argued it will prove hugely damaging to the tourism sector. Meanwhile, industry body Airlines UK has said the quarantine “would effectively kill off air travel”.
British Airways, who had already revealed they will be cutting up to 12,000 jobs, are now burning through their cash reserves at an alarming rate of £1m per hour. The Bank of England have loaned the airline £300m, the “maximum amount” available and Mr Walsh insists that every effort has been made to increase the cash balance of the company.
Last week, a letter from 200 travel companies was sent to the Home Secretary urging for the quarantine to be amended or removed and argued that travel between countries safe from coronavirus should be permitted, without the need for self-isolation.
The government is understood to be considering air bridges with several major European destinations including Spain and France, as well as Australia and Singapore.
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EasyJet have given hope to thousands of holidaymakers by announcing they will resume flights on 75% of its route network by the end of August.