New British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle on Monday urged the UK government to end the quarantining of passengers arriving from abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We need to get the economy moving again and this just isn’t possible when you’re asking people to quarantine for 14 days,” Doyle told an online aviation conference, a week after he replaced Alex Cruz as the CEO of British Airways.
“If we look abroad to our near neighbours, we see that business travel and indeed tourism is being prioritised by some countries,” Doyle added.
Addressing the same event, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the government was looking at introducing a virus test alongside a shortened quarantine period.
“My ministerial colleagues and I have agreed a regime, based on a single test provided by the private sector and at the cost to the passenger, after a period of self-isolation.”
He added, “It will mean a single test for international arrivals, a week after arrival.”
Doyle is not convinced however, telling the conference, “It’s our view that even if that quarantine period is reduced to seven days, people won’t travel here and the UK will get left behind.”
In fact, airlines worldwide face a hard struggle to recover from virus fallout that has prompted savage cost-cutting programmes.
British Airways, which is slashing thousands of jobs, last week announced the sudden departure of Cruz.
Doyle had been CEO at Aer Lingus, which like BA, is owned by airlines group IAG.