Bosses of British Airways are warning that the airline can only survive if they introduce airport testing. And lift the 14-day quarantine requirement and more Britons will start to fly.
British Airways chief executive Alex Cruz has said the aviation industry is fighting for its very survival. After losing 95 percent of flights during the coronavirus lockdown.
However, the airline is still operating only 30 percent of its capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr. Cruz said, “These are the toughest times in the history of the aviation industry. British Airways can survive, but only if the Government will work with us, rather than against us.”
He is also urging the ministers to launch airport testing on a trial basis instead of the 14-day quarantine. As passengers are currently subject to a 14-day quarantine when arriving back in the UK from high-risk countries.
Testing For Major Routes
The British Airways boss wants to see testing quickly introduced on the critical London to New York air route. A bigger list of regional travel corridors which include the US and air passenger duty waived for 12 months.
Mr. Cruz said airport testing for Covid-19 is very important for eliminating the quarantine measures. And opening travel and business links that have been ‘decimated, stifling economic growth’.
In addition, he said, “Thirty other countries have introduced airport testing to unlock the problem. So, my question to the Government is, why can’t we? Ministers must work with international partners to agree on a universal arrivals and departures testing process. Just as safety agreements are mutually recognized internationally, so should health standards.”
Mr. Cruz criticized the Government for “sitting on its hands” and delaying the approval for testing at Heathrow. All the procedures and facilities are ready to use for testing.
The Two Test Approach
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps shows his support for a two-test approach. In which passengers will be checked twice one on arrival in the UK and one on five or eight days later.
Those who get negative test results would then be free from quarantine measures, reducing the restrictions from the current 14 days.
But they have not decided on a date yet for the introduction of these plans. However, there are more than 40 Conservative MPs urging Boris Johnson to introduce airport testing.
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, said, “Aviation is in crisis and airlines and airports will go out of business. If we cannot resume international travel.”