Tuesday 9 June 2020 1:45 pm

UK tourism group says air bridges will be set up by 29 June

A tourism lobby group has said that air bridges to other countries will be operating by 29 June, saying it had received assurances on the matter by senior government officials.

In a statement, Quash Quarantine, a 500-strong group of travel and hospitality firms, said that it was considering options including joining British Airways’ legal challenge to the 14-day quarantine rule.

Read more: Easyjet boss warns that more jobs could be lost due to quarantine plans

Group spokesman Paul Charles said: “We are still considering our options regarding legal action, including whether to join BA’s claim or launch our own action, but would prefer that 29 June is confirmed as soon as possible for the start of travel corridors”.

The government’s quarantine rules, which apply to almost everyone entering England from overseas, came into effect yesterday but have met with a huge backlash from the airline and tourism sectors.

British Airways is spearheading legal action against the ruling, supported by Ryanair and Easyjet.

All three carriers have called for the government to use targeted air bridges to other countries with low rates of infection rather than the blanket approach currently operating.

A spokesperson for the government confirmed that the measures were being considered, but did not provide a date for their introduction.

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“It’s important to remember what these measures are all about – protecting public health, avoiding a second peak of this deadly virus and that means managing the risk of cases being imported from abroad”, they said.

“We are exploring a range of options to increase travel, underpinned by what the evidence shows is safe, including examining how international travel corridors could safely open up routes.”

Charles’ comments came after Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary yesterday predicted that the quarantine measures would have been quashed by the end of the month.

“I think in their heart of hearts, the government would like the courts to strike it down because it would get them off the hook,” O’Leary told Reuters.

“I think either the courts will strike it down this week or the government will quietly drop it before the end of June.”

Read more: Exclusive: Heathrow warns of 25,000 job losses amid quarantine travel row

Aviation bosses have warned that the quarantine plan will cause untold devastation, including the loss of thousands of jobs. 

Easyjet chief executive Johan Lundgren said extra cuts were a real possibility, while Heathrow Airport boss John Holland-Kaye warned that 25,000 people could lose their jobs unless the measures were eased within two weeks.

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