Airlines and airports were plunged into fresh uncertainty on Monday as the government’s signals of 14 day quarantine for inbound travellers battered the sector’s share prices.
EasyJet stock tumbled 7% and aero engines maker Rolls-Royce slumped 4% as the time horizon for a recovery of the embattled industry extended ever further.
Heathrow’s chief executive urged the Government to take the lead on uniting countries to agree on a common standard for safe travel, as he warned on the impact from a quarantine plan.
John Holland-Kaye wants international airports and governments to have a consensus for all airports for when lockdowns ease. That could include all passengers wearing face masks and having temperature checks.
He said a “common international standard” for health in aviation would mean passengers can travel freely between low risk countries once the infection rate has been brought down.
Cornish added: “Any quarantine is going to affect the whole aviation sector significantly. To protect the UK travel industry, we need to know how the quarantine will work, how long it will last and how businesses will be supported during this further period of near-zero demand.”
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, the trade body representing UK-registered airlines, said: “Public health is the priority and we need to see the full details of the proposals. But it is now vital that airlines get urgent additional Government support to get us through this growing crisis.”
A spokesman for London City Airport said: “We recognise that there are no easy options for Government, however it’s imperative that a roadmap is developed to ensure any quarantine can be eased and then lifted just as soon as possible.”