IAG Chief Threatens Legal Action Over Quarantine Rules

Willie Walsh, the chief executive of British Airways’ parent IAG, has said the group is considering taking legal action over the government’s mandatory quarantine for passengers arriving into the UK.

The legislation – which is due to come into effect from Monday (June 8) – will require all passengers arriving into the country to self-isolate for a 14-day quarantine period.

Walsh said the rules would have a severe impact on the group’s ability to get up and running again.

Speaking on Sky News’ Ian King Live programme, Walsh said: “I wrote to MPs last night to say that this initiative has, in effect, torpedoed our opportunity to get flying again in July. We think it is irrational, disproportionate and we are giving consideration to a legal challenge to this legislation. We are reviewing that with the lawyers later on today.

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British Airways is part of International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG). British Airways

He added: “I suspect there are other airlines who are doing so because it is important to point out that there was no consultation with the industry prior to enacting this legislation and we do believe it is an irrational piece of legislation.”

Ryanair is reported to be backing the move, telling Cirium that it would support any legal action launched by IAG.

Meanwhile, British Airways received a backlash from MPs yesterday when they accused the airline of “effectively sacking its entire 42,000-strong workforce and replacing it with 30,000 jobs on inferior terms.”

In his opening statement to an urgent question in Parliament yesterday, Huw Merriman, the chairman of the Transport Select Committee, said: “It is ethically outrageous that our national flag carrier is doing this at a time when the nation in at its weakest and when we expect the country to do its bit.”

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Willie Walsh told Sky News that the quarantine plans had "torpedoed our opportunity to get flying again in July". British Airways

Today, Walsh didn’t deny that this was taking place, instead he said: “The proposals have been put forward with the view for consultation, we have not taken any decisions. It would be irresponsible for us to make these decisions without giving people the opportunity to sit down with us in consultation and come forward with alternatives to what it is we’re looking to do.

“That is exactly what the law requires us to do, and that is exactly what we are committed to doing.”