Manchester Airports Group has joined low-cost airline Ryanair in pursuing legal action over the government’s traffic light system for international travel.
The UK’s largest airport operator and Europe’s biggest airline will file court papers today, 17th June, to seek a judicial review into the government’s decisions for quarantine rules for international travel. Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will be named as defendants in the case.
The move comes after Portugal was removed from the ‘green list’ of destinations not requiring quarantine on return, despite the country having lower rates of Covid-19 transmission than the UK. Manchester Airports Group and Ryanair have both called for greater transparency in how decisions to classify destinations as either green, amber or red list countries, and that the current approach has undermined consumer confidence in booking summer holidays. Other major airlines are also reported to be backing the legal action.
Charlie Cornish, MAG’s chief executive, said:
“The government is not being open and we simply cannot understand how it is making decisions that are fundamental to our ability to plan, and to giving customers the confidence to book travel ahead.
“These issues must be resolved urgently – and ahead of the review point later this month – to allow everyone to understand how the system operates, and to create the opportunity for international travel to resume to the fullest extent possible over the summer.”
Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary said:
“The UK’s Covid travel policy is a shambles. The Green List is non-existent because countries such as Malta and Portugal, with lower Covid case numbers than the UK and rapidly rising vaccination rates, remain on Amber. Meanwhile, UK citizens almost 80% of whom will be vaccinated by the end of June, continue to face Covid restrictions on travel to and from the European Union, despite the fact that the majority of the European Union citizens will also be vaccinated by the end of June.
“UK tourism and aviation needs a pragmatic travel policy, which permits vaccinated UK and EU citizens to travel between the UK and the EU without the need for quarantine or negative PCR tests. This will at least allow the UK tourism industry to plan for what is left of the summer season and get hundreds of thousands of people back to work. It is time for Boris Johnson to end his gross mismanagement of Covid and the recovery from Covid, and take advantage of the UK’s successful vaccine programme to allow the restoration of free movement of vaccinated UK citizens and their families to and from the EU, where Covid case rates are lower than the UK and vaccination rates are rising rapidly.”