British Airways parent company IAG has confirmed today that it has dropped its lawsuit against the UK government. The legal action, which was supported by Ryanair and easyJet, challenged the government’s quarantine policy, forcing UK arrivals to isolate for 14 days. This policy is no longer in place.
Quarantine is scrapped
Airlines are celebrating a win today as the UK government released a full list of countries from which travelers can arrive into England without self-isolating for two weeks. The new rules come into effect from July 10th and should encourage an increase in travel demand. Scotland and Wales are yet to confirm if they will take similar action.
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Previously British Airways, easyJet, and Ryanair had agreed to challenge the 14-day quarantine rule in the courts. The airlines wanted to challenge the science behind the rule, saying that it was a massive blow for the industry’s hopes of recovery. A lawyer for the airlines confirmed that once the government released an official list of countries that no longer require a quarantine period, the lawsuit would become irrelevant.
In a joint statement to Simple Flying, the three airlines said,
“The blanket quarantine introduced by the UK Government on everyone entering into England was irrational and has seriously damaged the economy and the travel industry. Today’s publication of a list of countries is a first step. We look forward to the publication of the rationale behind the decision making and the continued lifting of the quarantine from safe countries.”
Countries on the list
The airlines were so strongly against the policy because many key tourist destinations were restricted. The argument was that restricting passengers from these areas over the busy summer period would cause significant damage to airlines and holiday companies. Now, the government’s new list includes key tourist destinations such as Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Finland, Norway, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
The list currently comprises 59 countries. However, some key destinations are missing. Anyone traveling from China, the US, Sweden, and Portugal will still be forced to quarantine upon reaching the UK. This may deter many holidaymakers from choosing the UK as a destination this summer.
Strong summer schedules
The new list will encourage more people to visit the UK and should drive travel demand over the coming months. It should also encourage UK holidaymakers to take more trips abroad, as they will not be forced into isolation for two weeks upon their return.
Ryanair resumed flying in earnest from this week, July 1st. It hopes to reinstate almost 90% of its network over the summer, although frequencies will likely be down. easyJet is in a similar situation, now operating around 500 flights across Europe every day. The lifting of the quarantine and removal of a potentially time-consuming court case is likely to be welcome news to all operators.