BA boss Sean Doyle calls for pre-flight testing and an end to quarantine 

'We need to work together on a testing pilot so flights can start between London and New York,' says former Aer Lingus CEO
BA boss Sean Doyle calls for pre-flight testing and an end to quarantine 

New BA boss Sean Doyle, who joined from Aer Lingus last week, wants a global framework of virus testing for airline passengers to replace unpopular quarantine laws

Sean Doyle, who last week swapped the CEO seat at Aer Lingus for the top job at stablemate British Airways, has urged the UK and US to back pre-flight Covid-19 testing with quarantine-free transatlantic travel corridors.

“We need to work together on a testing pilot so flights can start between London and New York, traditionally one of the busiest airline routes in the world,” Mr Doyle said in his first public appearance since becoming British Airways boss.

He was addressing the Airlines 2050 online conference less than a week after parent group IAG’s new chief executive, Luis Gallego, named him to lead BA, replacing Alex Cruz.

The former Aer Lingus chief also echoed industry calls for a global framework of virus testing to replace quarantines blamed by the industry for exacerbating its slump.

“At the moment we’re not getting any support or action and we’re not hearing from governments what they’re thinking," he said. 

Meanwhile, regional airline Flybe, one of the first aviation Covid casualties, may start flying again next year. Its administrator EY has agreed to sell the airline to a firm affiliated with investment adviser Cyrus Capital.

European airline stocks jumped on a good day for markets despite rising Covid restrictions. IAG, Ryanair, and EasyJet were all up by well over 4% and Lufthansa and Air France-KLM rose 5% and 7%, respectively

Meanwhile, ECB boss Christine Lagarde has urged EU leaders to consider the region’s €750bn recovery fund as a permanent tool.

“This recovery plan tool is a response to an extraordinary situation. We should discuss the possibility of it remaining in the European toolbox so it could be used again if similar circumstances arise," she said.

Sterling, meanwhile, extended gains and climbed above $1.30 against the dollar as hopes grew that British and European negotiators might be able to salvage post-Brexit trade talks.

Britain said the door was still open if the EU wanted to make some small concessions, but that unless the bloc budged, there would be a no-deal exit in 10 weeks. Against the euro, the pound gained 0.5% to 90.25p.

EU and British negotiators were discussing continuing trade talks over the phone, after British prime minister Boris Johnson said there was no point in continuing talks.

  • Additional reporting Reuters and Bloomberg

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