In statements released over the weekend, both BALPA and Airlines UK have hit out over the government’s plan to introduce a 14-day quarantine period. BALPA, the pilots union has asked to see details of the government’s plan while Airlines UK has said the move would further dampen the ability of airlines to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
This news comes after government sources leaked information about Britain’s plans to ease the restrictions imposed to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
There is no date in place for the quarantine rules
In an address to the nation on Sunday evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I am serving notice that it will soon be the time – with transmission significantly lower – to impose quarantine on people coming into this country by air.”
While the quarantine rules are still sketchy at best, anyone arriving in the United Kingdom by air will need to self-isolate for a period of 14-days. According to Sky News, passengers arriving from France will not have to abide by the quarantine rules after an agreement was reached between Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron.
So far, no date has been set for when the measures will start, but already various groups within the United Kingdom are expressing their displeasure over what will be added pain to the airline industry.
BALPA is concerned about the quarantine rule
In its statement BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton said:
“We haven’t seen the scientific basis for the possible 14-day quarantine proposal, nor any risk assessments for the health and wellbeing of the crew.
“There are too many open questions. What is the government’s plan for aviation? How does it all fit together? Is the UK acting consistently with other jurisdictions or going it alone? And crucially, will the government pay for airlines to fly inefficiently due to the government’s imposed restrictions?
“My concern is that once again the government has not considered the impacts on pilots and other crew facing job losses and pay cuts – there has to be a moratorium on these threats and a viable plan to support aviation.
“It’s high time the government got its act together.”
Airlines UK call for government support
For its part Tim Alderslade, CEO of Airlines UK, the industry association representing UK-registered carriers, said:
“Public health must, of course, be the priority, and we respect the Sage advice. We all – including Government – need to adapt to the new normal, but closing off air travel in this way is not the way to achieve this. Ministers are effectively telling people they can no longer travel for the foreseeable future, and airlines will respond to that by grounding their operations – and that is why they require urgent additional Government support to get through this growing crisis.”
It is becoming abundantly clear that there is no silver bullet to fix the current coronavirus crisis and a big fear that opening up workplaces and schools too soon could lead to a spike in new infections.
The British Prime Minister said in his address last night that he will be revealing more plans as to how the United Kingdom will reopen when he takes questions in parliament later today.
In this morning’s UK newspaper’s many editorials are expressing concern over the government’s handling of the pandemic. If the news is correct that people arriving from France will not have to self-quarantine why not make it for the entire European Union.
What do you think about the UK imposing a 14-day quarantine now? Should it have done it earlier? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section.