The former boss of Aer Lingus has demanded that the self-isolation requirement in Ireland and the UK for international arrivals is replaced by Covid-19 tests before departure.
Sean Doyle, who was appointed chief executive of British Airways last week, told the Airlines 2050 summit of industry leaders that “we do not believe quarantine is the solution”.
He said: “We believe the best way to reassure people is to introduce a reliable and affordable test before flying.
We need to get the economy moving
“For the UK, this approach reduces the stress on the NHS testing systems within the UK and on policing the quarantine system.
“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.”
UK transport secretary Grant Shapps told the conference the British government is developing a “test and release regime” which will still involve a quarantine period of at least a week.
He said: “My ministerial colleagues and I have agreed a regime, based on a single test provided by the private sector and at the cost to the passenger, after a period of self-isolation and doing those things could achieve our objectives.
“The next step is to develop how this approach can be implemented.”
He added: “It will mean a single test for international arrivals, a week after arrival.”