Tuesday 22 June 2021 12:35 pm

Tui joins BA and Virgin Atlantic in Ryanair's legal battle against travel traffic light system

Travel giant Tui has announced it has joined Virgin Atlantic and British Airways’ parent company IAG in supporting legal action against the UK Government’s traffic light travel restrictions.

The FTSE-listed tour operator said the three companies have become interested parties in a challenge launched by Ryanair and Stansted airport owner MAG last week.

Ryanair’s case is an attempt to get the Government to be more transparent in relation to how it determines which countries are on the green, amber and red lists under the traffic light system for international travel.

Airlines and the rest of the travel industry have been effectively knee-capped as no major travel destinations are on the UK’s quarantine-free green list.

Speaking at an industry conference this morning, Tui managing director Andrew Flintham said: “At the time of the last country review, many destinations such as Malta, the Greek islands and the Balearics had much lower rates (of infection) than the UK.

“It was inexplicable as to why these were not added and instead Portugal was moved straight from green to amber, without the slightest sign of stopping at the much-vaunted green watchlist.

“We must understand the criteria we are all working towards so we can pre-empt when countries may move into different categories and help our customers with that challenge, and we must understand how the framework is being applied.”

Airlines and other industry participants were asked to join the Global Travel taskforce, an endevour by the UK Government to figure out how best to restart international travel after 17 May. The industry has repeatedly spoken out on how they felt they were ignored.

In court documents filed last week the parties challenge “the Government’s lack of transparency, particularly around the lack of clear reasoning given for moving Portugal from the green list to the amber list and its decision not to move any amber list countries to the green list”.

Since the case was filed, the UK Government has made positive noises that fully vaccinated Brits may be able to skip self-isolation when returning from an amber list country, although nothing is confirmed.

The next update to the traffic light system is expected later this week.