BA, easyJet and Ryanair start court action over ‘devastating’ quarantine plans
Britain’s three biggest airlines are seeking urgent judicial review of a government policy, filing a formal legal challenge against it
The airlines say the policy could cost thousands of jobs and the current quarantine laws are having a “devastating effect on tourism and the wider economy”.
British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair say the rules, which came into effect on Monday and require passengers arriving from abroad to self-isolate at a single address for 14 days, are flawed and will cost thousands of jobs.
The airlines sent a letter to the government last week to start their legal challenge, and court proceedings are now in motion. The airlines have requested a hearing as soon as possible.
They have applied for a judicial review at the High Court.
The challenge claims that the quarantine rules for travellers are more stringent than those applied to people who actually have Covid-19.
Despite reports of private briefings that “air bridges” allowing travel between the UK and some other European countries could be established by the end of the month, the three airlines say they have not yet seen any evidence of how and when they would be implemented.
Instead, they are urging the government to revisit a policy briefly introduced in March that targeted passengers entering from “high-risk” countries for quarantine.
They said: “This would be the most practical and effective solution and enables civil servants to focus on other, more significant issues arising from the pandemic while bringing the UK in line with much of Europe which is opening its borders mid-June.”
The airlines’ chief executives have been outspoken in their criticism of the rules. Willie Walsh, the boss of BA’s parent company IAG, has described them as “irrational and disproportionate”, while Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary has said they are “nonsense”.