Former Etihad CEO Under Fire For Violating UK Quarantine

James Hogan, who previously served an 11-year spell as CEO of Etihad Airways, is in hot water after failing to declare a visit to a UK ‘red list’ country. It has emerged that the former airline executive attempted to bypass the British government’s hotel quarantine requirement. He did so by swapping passports and breaking his journey from the UAE in Switzerland.

Etihad Boeing 787 Getty
Mr Hogan was Etihad’s CEO between 2006 and 2017. Photo: Getty Images

Attempting to circumvent hotel quarantine

According to the Mail On Sunday, Mr Hogan departed Abu Dhabi on March 17th using his Australian passport. By this time, the UAE had been on the UK’s red list for around two months. He flew from the Middle Eastern country’s capital to Geneva, Switzerland. Crucially, the British government does not currently consider this a high-risk destination.

Paddle Your Own Kanoo reports that Hogan spent just two days in Switzerland before continuing to London Heathrow. Here, he allegedly entered the UK using a British passport so as not to arouse suspicions about his recent movements. However, this was the point at which the British-Australian dual national’s plot began to unravel before him.

It is thought that Hogan was caught after a whistleblower alerted British embassy officials to his plot. This apparently came about due to the former Etihad CEO openly boasting about his plans to circumvent the required hotel quarantine.

James Hogan
A whistleblower is said to have alerted officials to Hogan’s plot. Photo: World Economic Forum via Wikimedia Commons

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With officials having been informed, border forces at Heathrow detained him before taking him into quarantine. In addition to the cost of the hotel quarantine, Hogan may yet face a £10,000 fine, and even prosecution for his violation. Furthermore, a similar trip that he made the previous month is also now the subject of further examination.

The UK red list in a nutshell

The British government first drew up its ‘red list’ in January. It was intended as a means of preventing mutated strains of coronavirus from entering the country. It added countries either based on the presence of mutations, or close connections to countries with such strains. The regulation requires incoming passengers from red list nations to undergo a self-funded hotel quarantine. This 10 day stay costs travelers £1,750 ($2,418).

Hotel Quarantine, COVID-19 Tests, Prison
10 days of hotel quarantine cost travelers £1,750. Photo: Getty Images

It is also worth noting that only British and Irish citizens, and passengers with residency rights may enter the UK from red list countries. The restriction applies not only to those entering directly from such territories, but also for people who have passed through them within the last 10 days. However, Mr Hogan spent just two days in Switzerland en route from the UAE to the UK. As such, he is deemed to have violated the regulations.

Involved with new a Montenegrin carrier

Mr Hogan has previously been in the news this year for rather more positive reasons. Indeed, Simple Flying reported in January that he would be helping to set up the new national airline of Montenegro. This came about after the country’s former flag carrier, Montenegro Airlines, collapsed in December 2020.

Montenegro Airlines Embraer 195
Montenegro Airlines collapsed in December 2020. Earlier this year, James Hogan was involved in consultation efforts regarding the country’s new flag carrier. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr

Hogan provided consultancy services to the Montenegrin government, which eventually selected Lufthansa Systems to help it set up its new flag carrier. The German national airline prevailed over competition from the likes of Boeing and PwC.

The new airline recently changed its name from ToMontenegro to Air Montenegro. It is keen to commence operations in the wake of the former flag carrier’s collapse. However, this looks set to be somewhat delayed. News of the potential delays came about after maintenance irregularities in its fleet came to the surface last week.

What do you make of Mr Hogan’s attempts to bypass the UK’s red list hotel quarantine? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.