United Kingdom Airlines including British Airways, EasyJet and Ryanair on Friday said they have initiated legal action against the UK government over its “flawed” mandatory 14-day quarantine for international travellers.
The policy was introduced earlier this week to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease with the UK being one of the most hit countries.
British residents and overseas visitors must comply with the 14-day self-isolation rules or face a £1,000 ($1,250, 1,125-euro) fine or prosecution.
The two-week quarantine measure has, however, been highly criticised from the country’s aviation sector which has been paralysed by the pandemic since March.
The three airlines said the policy will “have a devastating effect on British tourism and the wider economy and destroy thousands of jobs” and they have asked for their judicial review “to be heard as soon as possible”.
“There was no consultation and no scientific evidence provided for such a severe policy,” they added as among the reasons for instituting the legal action.
Critics continue to question why the British government was bent on inflicting more pain on hotels and airlines by reducing travel from countries with fewer virus cases.
The airlines disagreed with the move, insisting that the government reinstate measures introduced on March 10 which saw only passengers from “high risk” countries quarantined.
“This would be the most practical and effective solution and enables civil servants to focus on other, more significant, issues arising from the pandemic while bringing the UK in line with much of Europe which is opening its borders mid-June,” they added.
According to the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 Situation Dashboard as of Friday morning, Britain has reported 290,147 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 41,128 associated deaths.