Ryanair and Manchester Airports Group (MAG), the UK’s largest airport group, have filed a court challenge demanding the government be more transparent in the management of the controversial ‘at traffic light’ travel system.
Many airlines, including British Airways owner IAG (ICAG.L) and Virgin Atlantic, have joined a lawsuit against the UK over travel restrictions, increasing pressure on the government to ease the restrictions that put businesses and jobs at risk. With protests and demonstrations across the country, UK pilots, cabin crew, travel agencies and other workers are also pressuring politicians to reestablish lines overseas.
Decrease in the number of passengers
Manchester Airports Group (MAG) reported a deficit of £ 374million (€ 435million) from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021, July 8, 2021. The UK’s largest airport company reported a drop 89% of the number of passengers, citing current restrictions on international air travel as the main cause. Companies such as British Airways (ICAG.L), EasyJet (EZJ.L), TUI and Jet2 (JET2.L) have also taken on billions of pounds in debt to endure more than 15 months of travel restrictions. All airlines and airports have been hit hard by the travel restrictions, and they argue that a full reopening is needed to help them recover and keep millions of jobs alive.
“We have supported all the measures the government has demanded in response to Covid-19, and we also praised the Global Travel Taskforce’s traffic light system for facilitating the safe, sustainable and robust catering of international travel,” said Charlie Cornish, CEO of MAG. . He also criticized the government’s reluctance to open up international travel by putting low-risk countries on the green list, saying most countries’ traffic lights are locked on amber for no apparent reason, despite having significantly lower incidence rates than in the UK.
Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair Group, said: “The UK traffic light system has been a mess from the start, inflicting untold damage on the aviation industry and irritating and disrupting tens of millions of homes. Britons after seeing their vacation plans and the circle of family visits disrupted by the government’s mismanagement of world travel.
They demanded that Prime Minister Boris Johnson explain the scientific basis for this system, which the government seems to have invented. The issues are resolved as soon as possible, with the government allowing everyone to understand how the system works and allowing international travel to resume over the summer.
Traffic light: green, amber and red
Passengers returning from less than a dozen countries are exempt from quarantine under existing UK travel restrictions, which were recently tightened to exclude Portugal, the only major tourist destination. The government traffic light system gives countries a green, orange or red rating based on their Covid danger. Nations classified as green do not require travelers to self-isolate on their return, but they must take a Covid test before and after their stay. Only UK or Irish nationals or UK residents are allowed to enter and they must pay for a 10 day stay in a government quarantine hotel if arriving from an Amber country.
Ministers said they were taking a cautious approach, favoring the removal of domestic constraints in the UK. According to them, the decision to remove Portugal from the green list was taken in response to concerns about the spread of variations in Covid-19. The transport ministry said it was seeking to “balance the swift reopening of international travel while maintaining public health and protecting the vaccination rollout,” but declined to comment on the legal process. “Our traffic light system is carefully monitoring the danger of further variations, and we have provided £ 7 billion to help support the industry during the pandemic.”