Ryanair and IAG start legal action over Covid quarantine laws

Ryanair, British Airways and EasyJet have begun legal action against the British government’s quarantine policy in a bid to overturn what they see as overly strict rules.
Ryanair and IAG start legal action over Covid quarantine laws

Ryanair, British Airways and EasyJet have begun legal action against the British government’s quarantine policy in a bid to overturn what they see as overly strict rules.

All three airlines had hoped to resume regular flights after air travel came to a total standstill during the coronavirus pandemic, leading to almost 20,000 job losses between them.

But Britain’s 14-day quarantine, introduced on June 8 for arrivals from abroad, is deterring bookings at a time when other European countries are beginning to open their borders.

The airlines said in a statement issued by British Airways and Aer Lingus parent company IAG they had lodged their complaint with the British High Court, asking for a judicial review as soon as possible.

If judges agree, lawyers have said the government would have to show the scientific evidence that underpinned the rule.

There was no immediate response from the British government, which has previously defended quarantine as necessary to prevent a second wave of the coronavirus.

Britain’s chief scientist said earlier in June that politicians decided the policy, adding quarantines worked best for restricting travel from countries with high infection rates.

The airlines said there was no scientific evidence for the policy and there had been no consultation with the industry on the new rules.

Their legal action escalates tensions with the British government, and the relationship is in contrast to France and Germany where governments have bailed out their carriers.

The airlines said they wanted the UK government to re-adopt its previous quarantine policy introduced on March 10 which applied only to passengers arriving from countries deemed as high risk.

They also dismissed “air bridges”, bilateral deals between countries with low infection rates, which the British government has presented as a potential alternative to the quarantine, saying they had not yet seen any evidence of how these would work.

Head of airport representative group ACI Europe Olivier Jankovec, said: “As we all re-emerge from the peak of the pandemic, airports and airlines are right there at the forefront of ensuring that we can all kick-start our economies - and frankly our daily lives - with confidence and security. This is why it is essential that governments play ball and now fully lift the remaining restrictions to intra-Europe travel."

Ryanair has also reiterated its call for the Irish government to abandon air travel quarantine laws, saying Ireland’s "useless form filling” quarantine, "which has no scientific or medical efficacy", is deterring EU visitors coming to Ireland in July and August "at a time when most other EU countries are removing restrictions and welcoming tourists."

-Reuters and Irish Examiner

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