Coronavirus: UK’s quarantine plans criticised by aviation industry

The aviation industry has criticised plans for a 14-day quarantine for people arriving in the UK from overseas.

The plans are aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus as the number of cases in the UK begins to fall.

But it comes as many airlines were preparing to resume flights on a smaller scale after weeks of being grounded by virus-related travel restrictions.

Ryanair said it will go ahead with plans to run 40% of flights in July, but its chief executive Michael O’Leary dismissed the quarantine plan as “bonkers”.

He told Sky’s Ian King Live: “You cannot implement an effective quarantine on inbound arrivals into the UK when passengers arriving at airports like Heathrow or Gatwick, [then] get on the London Underground and Gatwick Express to travel into London.

“Every passenger arriving at every UK airport uses buses, trains, public transport to travel to their destination and the government idea that you should only isolate them after they’ve all used public transport shows how ineffective a quarantine is.

“In the UK they’re not applying effective measures, which is face masks, instead preferring to come up with frankly ineffective and bonkers ideas like quarantines.”

The quarantine will mean arrivals having to tell authorities where they will isolate themselves for 14 days – and they could be fined £1,000 if they break the rules.

Road hauliers, NHS workers and people from the Republic of Ireland are exempt.

The rules are not as tough as in some countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, where arrivals are taken to hotels for 14 days in isolation.

Many countries have also banned arrivals who are not citizens or residents.

Heathrow’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye said the plan would “kill off aviation as long as it is in place”.

He told Sky News: “As long as the quarantine is in place then nobody is going to be flying any more than we have today, which is only about 5,000 passengers daily, when normally we would expect at this time of year nearly a quarter of a million passengers.

“If this is what the government needs to do to keep people safe and avoid another outbreak of the disease, then I think we have to support that.

“But we have to have a plan for what happens next so that we can look ahead to how we’d reopen borders.”

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