As part of measures aimed at avoiding a second peak of the coronavirus pandemic, the UK Government has said that it will impose a mandatory 14-day quarantine period on passengers arriving by air in the UK.
Addressing the nation on Sunday 10 May, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I am serving notice that it will soon be the time – with transmission significantly lower – to impose quarantine on people coming into this country by air.”
A reciprocal deal with the government in Paris means restrictions would not apply to passengers from France. In a joint statement, the UK and French governments agreed to “work together in taking forward appropriate border measures.
Describing the mandatory quarantine as having “a dramatic impact on our industry”, Karen Dee from the Airport Operators Association said: “If people have to quarantine for 14 days, they will be much less likely to want to travel, so there will be a dramatic impact on us at a time when we are already seeing passenger numbers decline by around 98%.”
Meanwhile, a letter from industry trade body Airlines UK on behalf of a number of airline and airpot CEOs to the Prime Minister asserted that “an open-ended quarantine, with no set end date, will make an already critical situation for the UK aviation, and all the businesses we support, even worse. People will simply choose not to travel to and from the UK, at the same time as economies in Europe and around the world begin opening up their borders and removing their own quarantines – making the UK aviation sector unable to compete.”
Derek Provan, Chief Executive Officer of AGS Airports, which owns Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton Airports said: “We expected to be moving into a restart position hopefully within a matter of weeks but it is now clear that with this measure in place, we are back to the drawing board once again to understand when we may restart the economy and open our airports properly.”
Industry body Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) has said it would seek exemption to the quarantine for offshore workers as some reside outside of the UK and will be affected by these new measures.