EasyJet boss wants to get Brits flying again by replacing quarantine with coronavirus testing

By Sarah Wilson
Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 12:54 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 12:55 pm
Aviation bosses have warned that further job cuts could be on the way if a testing scheme is not introduced. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Aviation bosses have warned that further job cuts could be on the way if a testing scheme is not introduced. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The boss of budget airline EasyJet has backed a campaign by The Daily Mail to Get Britain Flying Again with tests at the border.

The campaign is calling for an end to the current quarantine policy for returning travellers, and wants tests to be imposed on those coming from high-risk countries instead.

EasyJet boss Johan Lundgren became the latest to back the campaign, telling The Daily Mail that there is ‘still time to rescue our airline industry’, which is currently struggling under coronavirus restrictions.

He said: "The first step is to put in place a cutting edge science based regime for quarantine and travel and we need testing in place for those who travel from the red zones. This is just common sense."

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Ex-prime minister Tony Blair has also pledged support for such a scheme, which he anticipates would reduce quarantine before replacing it altogether. He told The Mail:

"Testing after travel will reduce quarantine and eventually replace it altogether.

"By maximising all the testing capacity at our disposal and continuing to bring online new, innovative on-the-spot tests, we can do this now. It will be essential to getting international travel back and revitalising the economy".

The support comes in the wake of new restrictions imposed on the Greek Islands, a policy that left many families shelling out thousands to get home before quarantine became mandatory.

EasyJet was forced, as a result, to cancel flights to Crete, Lesvos, Mykonos, Santorini, Serifos, Tinos, and Zakynthos.

The decline in flying has already seen some holiday operators and airlines fold under pressure.

EasyJet has cut 4,500 jobs already, closing its bases at Southend, Stansted and Newcastle airports.

Industry experts are saying that Sicily and Sardinia could be the latest destinations added to the quarantine list, possibly meaning more bad news for the airline industry.

Portugal and Denmark are also said to be close to risking quarantine restrictions based on a rise in the number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents over seven days.