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8 Jun, 2020 10:51

Millions of jobs at risk if planes stay grounded due to UK’s mandatory quarantine, warns Heathrow boss

Millions of jobs at risk if planes stay grounded due to UK’s mandatory quarantine, warns Heathrow boss

New quarantine rules in Britain could cripple the aviation and tourism sector, resulting in hundreds of thousands and even millions of lost jobs, said the chief executive of London’s Heathrow Airport, John Holland-Kaye.

“We cannot go on like this as a country,” Holland-Kaye told Sky News on Monday, adding: “We need to start planning to reopen our borders.

“If we don’t get aviation moving again quickly, in a very safe way, then we are going to lose hundreds of thousands if not millions of jobs in the UK just at the time when we need to be rebuilding our economy.”

The United Kingdom introduced a 14-day quarantine period for international arrivals on Monday despite warnings from its biggest airlines that the move would decimate domestic tourism and damage exports. Under the new rules, UK nationals and international passengers traveling into the country (via airplane, ferry or train) will have to complete a form prior to their arrival, detailing an address where they will self-isolate for the next 14 days.

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The measure was designed “to prevent a second wave” of coronavirus, according to Home Secretary Priti Patel. Those who do not provide accurate information will be fined up to £1,000 ($1,270).

The new laws have sparked criticism, with British Airways, Easyjet and Ryanair describing them as “unfair” and “disproportionate.” The three airlines have sent a “pre-action protocol letter” which can be followed by a legal action.

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary said the airline will not cancel British flights despite what he has called a ‘rubbish’ quarantine. He said the new rules were a “political stunt,” warning that the quarantine will put many Europeans tourists off visiting the UK.

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