Ryanair, UK airports sue govt over Covid travel rules
LONDON, June 17: Irish no-frills airline Ryanair and Manchester Airports Group (MAG) are to launch Thursday a legal challenge against the UK government over its Covid traffic-light travel restrictions.
The legal action seeks greater transparency in how destinations are classified within the system, according to MAG, which manages Manchester and London Stansted airports.
Britain's Covid risk system ranks destinations as green, amber or red, to determine quarantine and testing requirements when travellers return.
However, the recent reclassification of Portugal -- from green to amber -- sparked sector-wide anger.
The lawsuit is backed by a number of other airlines, a MAG statement said.
"Recent developments suggest that the government is now unwilling to open up international travel by putting low risk countries on the green list," MAG chief executive Charlie Cornish was quoted as saying.
"For most countries, the traffic light seems to be stuck on amber for no obvious reason, despite having prevalence rates much lower than the UK."
He added that the government was not being "open" and needed to provide more clarity to enable the sector to plan ahead -- and travellers to book with confidence.
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary decried the system as a "complete shambles".
"This go-stop-go-stop policy is causing untold damage to the aviation industry and frustrating and upsetting millions of British families," said O'Leary.
"We call on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to explain the scientific basis behind this system that the government seem to make up as they go along. Under the current rules launched last month, Britons heading to low-risk "green" countries and territories simply take a virus test before and after they travel.
But those going to amber or red destinations must quarantine for 10 days after they return to Britain -- in hotels for red-list arrivals -- and take several Covid-19 tests. -AFP