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British Airways parent company considering legal challenge to UK quarantine rules

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The owner of British Airways is considering launching a legal challenge against the UK's looming quarantine plan, its chief executive said, warning that the new rules would torpedo its return to flying in July.

[LONDON] The owner of British Airways is considering launching a legal challenge against the UK's looming quarantine plan, its chief executive said, warning that the new rules would torpedo its return to flying in July.

Willie Walsh, the chief executive of International Airlines Group (IAG), told Sky News on Friday there had been no consultation with the industry prior to the rule change, and he was reviewing possible action with lawyers.

"I wrote to MPs (lawmakers) last night to say this initiative has in effect torpedoed our opportunity to get flying in July," Mr Walsh said.

"We think it is irrational, we think it is disproportionate and we are giving consideration to a legal challenge to this legislation."

Mr Walsh added that he expected other airlines to follow suit.

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The quarantine rule states that from 8 June, those arriving in Britain from abroad need to stay at home for 14 days, deterring people from booking holidays in a huge setback for the embattled travel industry.

British Airways, along with rivals such as easyJet and Ryanair, had been hoping to resume flights in July after a three month period where most aircraft have been grounded due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Any legal challenge would be an escalation of the row with ministers after IAG and the head of British Airways declined to attend a meeting with the UK interior minister on Thursday.

British Airways also came under attack from lawmakers in parliament earlier this week over the 12,000 job cuts it is planning to make. It says it needs to axe staff as the travel market will be smaller after coronavirus.

Mr Walsh told Sky News that no decisions had been made on the redundancies yet and urged unions to attend consultation meetings over the job cuts. IAG also owns Iberia and Aer Lingus.

REUTERS

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