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Ryanair Calls U.K.’s Air Bridge Plan ‘More Idiotic Rubbish’

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 6/27/2020 Siddharth Philip and Charlotte Ryan
a large passenger jet sitting on top of a runway: A passenger aircraft, operated by Ryanair Holdings Plc, stands on the tarmac at London Luton Airport in Luton, U.K., on Friday, May 1, 2020. Ryanair Holdings Plc will cut 3,000 jobs and said it will challenge some 30 billion euros ($33 billion) in state aid being doled out to save its European competitors. © Bloomberg A passenger aircraft, operated by Ryanair Holdings Plc, stands on the tarmac at London Luton Airport in Luton, U.K., on Friday, May 1, 2020. Ryanair Holdings Plc will cut 3,000 jobs and said it will challenge some 30 billion euros ($33 billion) in state aid being doled out to save its European competitors.

(Bloomberg) -- Ryanair Holdings Plc dismissed the U.K.’s plan to relax quarantine requirements for people arriving from France, Greece and Spain as “more idiotic rubbish” and called for the restrictions to be scrapped entirely.

The government plans next week to publish a full list of the countries with which it will establish so-called air bridges -- exempting incoming travelers from self-isolating for two weeks. It hopes the measures will restore a semblance of normality to an airline industry that’s been devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic and is shedding thousands of jobs.

The biggest airlines operating in the U.K. are suing to overturn the quarantine policy. Industry officials say the government is unable to enforce the restrictions and they’re likely to destroy demand in the crucial summer travel season.

“The U.K. government’s idea of “air bridges” is more idiotic rubbish from a government who can’t operate a “form filling” quarantine or a track and trace system either,” Ryanair said in an emailed reply to questions. “Thousands of British families are ignoring this useless quarantine as bookings to Europe from the U.K. for July and August are flooding into Ryanair.”

Ryanair, Europe’s biggest low-cost airline, said it was planning to operate 1,000 daily flights from July 1.

Rival budget carrier EasyJet Plc also called for an end to the quarantine requirements introduced on June 8, and said it had yet to see details of the air bridge plan.

Infection levels are on the decline in most European countries and governments are keen to find a way to allow millions of people to take their annual vacation while guarding against a resurgence in coronavirus cases.

Traffic Light System

Britain will continue monitoring levels of Covid-19 infection and “put on the brakes” if the rate of infection increases either at home or in the countries on its air bridge list, the U.K. government said in a statement on Friday. Destinations will be classified as green, amber or red based on factors including the number of cases and the reliability of data.

Of the three nations highlighted, Spain and Greece are among the most popular beach-holiday destinations for British tourists. France is both an important leisure market and a key surface transport link via ferries and the Channel Tunnel rail route.

All passengers arriving via airports, ports and the tunnel will still be required to wear face masks under the government’s plan. They’ll also need to complete a passenger locater form detailing their place of residence on entering the U.K.

The “cautious change” will encourage trips by business travelers and tourists alike, providing “a vital lifeline for U.K. travel operators and those whose jobs rely on the travel industry,” the government said.

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