British Airways’ parent IAG plans to take legal action to challenge the quarantine imposed on foreign travellers


British Airways’ parent company IAG said on Friday 5 June that it is considering legal action against the government’s decision to impose a quarantine on visitors arriving in the United Kingdom, a measure criticised by the airline and tourism industries.

Willie Walsh, CEO IAG © André Orban

We think it is irrational, we think it is disproportionate and we are considering legal action against this legislation,” said Willie Walsh, boss of IAG, on Sky News. “We will see this with the lawyers during the day. I think there are other airlines that do the same because it must be stressed that there was no consultation with the sector,” he added.

Low-cost Irish airline Ryanair said it expected to “support any legal action launched by IAG against this ineffective and unnecessary quarantine“.

Willie Walsh said the move would “torpedo” the resumption of flights in July. After suffering a shutdown of their activity for weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic, the airlines and the tourism sector hoped to restart thanks to deconfinement. But their plans are disrupted by the quarantine imposed from Monday on all travellers arriving from abroad in the United Kingdom.

Michael O’Leary © André Orban

Ryanair’s boss Michael O’Leary even described quarantine on Thursday as a measure “designed by Dominic Cummings for Dominic Cummings“, in reference to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s special advisor, whose displacement during lockdown caused a lively controversy.

The government is also considering establishing air bridges with some countries, which would prevent many travellers entering the UK from observing quarantine. According to a study by Survey Monkey published at the start of the week, travel and hotel companies plan to lay off up to 60% of their staff in the event of the introduction of quarantine.