Outrigger Hotels and Resorts

19 October 2020

UK will be 'left behind' due to quarantine rules, says BA chief

Sean Doyle, the new Chief Executive of British Airways, said the UK will get 'left behind' with the current quarantine systems in place.

In his first public appearance since being named BA's new CEO last week, Doyle gave a keynote address at aviation summit Airlines 2050, where he said a recovery was unlikely without 'reliable and affordable' Covid-19 testing systems in place.

"We believe the best way to reassure people is to introduce a reliable and affordable test before flying. For the UK, this approach reduces the stress on the NHS testing systems within the UK and on policing the quarantine system."

Doyle said BA believes the risk to public health of flying is low after the International Air Transport Association suggested that since the start of 2020 there have been as few as 44 cases of Covid-19 linked to flights. Over the same period some 1.2 billion passengers have travelled.

"If we look abroad to our near neighbours, we see that business travel and indeed tourism is being prioritised by some countries.

"We need to get the economy moving again and this just isn't possible when you're asking people to quarantine for 14 days.

"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."

Doyle said BA was flying to 30 cities before the coronavirus pandemic, but it is now serving less than half that number.

"The stakes could not be higher," Sean Doyle said during Airlines 2050. "There is a risk we will not see beyond this crisis if we do not get people flying again."

Previously Aer Lingus Chairman and Chief Executive, Doyle joined BA last week replacing Alex Cruz.

By Louise Longman, Contributing Editor (UK)


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