BRITISH Airways is considering legal action over the Government’s “irrational” quarantine travel plans.
The airline giant is said to be furious over the “unworkable” plans to introduce a 14-day quarantine for people coming into Britain.
Willie Walsh, the boss of parent company IAG, says the new rules will “torpedo” chances of flights resuming in July.
He said: “This is the most difficult challenge the airline industry has ever faced and we need to take action to ensure all the airline and everyone in the industry is taken care off and can survive this.
“We are facing the greatest industry the crisis has ever seen.
“There was no consultation with the industry prior to this legislation.
“We think it is irrational, we think it is disproportionate and we are giving consideration to a legal challenge to this legislation.”
Chief executive Alex Cruz declined to join an industry call with the Home Secretary and aviation minister Kelly Tolhurst yesterday.
Sources told the BBC that BA considered the meeting a “waste of time” after the Government pressed ahead with its quarantine plan despite fierce opposition.
The firm is planning up to 12,000 redundancies amid a huge collapse in global tourism.
A Government source told The Telegraph: “It’s a shame that BA don’t want to directly make their case to the Home Secretary and the aviation minister.
“Clearly they are not serious about working to get Britain moving again.”
EasyJet and Virgin Atlantic, as well as the owner of Heathrow Airport, were among the aviation businesses that attended the telephone meeting
Ms Patel is said to have told the meeting: “We’re listening and we want to find solutions together, that’s why we’re here today.”
BA’s parent company declined to give a reason for not taking part in the call.
Yesterday a scientist who reports to SAGE publicly questioned the Government’s quarantine travel rules as “not useful”.
Professor Robert Dingwall cast serious doubts over the 14-day quarantine rule and suggested it will have very little impact.
The Home Secretary has faced a huge backlash from Tory MPs and tourism bosses who believe the moves, which will come in from Monday, will harm the collapsing British travel industry and cost jobs.
Tourism bosses have warned it could destroy the industry, as critics continue to push for so-called “air-bridges” – limited links between the UK and low-risk countries.
Ms Patel did leave the door open for changes to the plan, with some hoping the 14-day isolation could be canned by the end of June.
The plan includes:
- Travellers to the UK from Monday will have to quarantine in one specific address for 14 days when they come into the UK
- They will have to fill in a form and have a receipt with them to prove they’ve handed over their contact details to authorities
- They will face spot checks and could face £1,000 fines if they break them
- But they will be allowed to break the two-week coronavirus quarantine to pop out for food, attend funerals and can use public transport
- Those from the Common Travel Area – Ireland, the Channel Islands and The Isle of Man – will be exempt
- Posties, lorry drivers and diplomats will be exempt from having to isolate
- The Government confirmed there was a list of exemptions to the controversial rules – but said these were only in case of an emergency
- The measures will be reviewed every three weeks – starting in the week of June 28