The CEO of Europe’s largest airline has slammed the UK government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and described plans to impose a 14-day quarantine on international visitors as “idiotic and unimplementable.”
Ryanair’s (RYAAY) Michael O’Leary said Monday that the UK government has “mismanaged the crisis for many weeks,” adding that plans to impose a 14-day quarantine on certain international visitors, while exempting people arriving from Ireland and France, are “laughable.”
“As the government puts more meat on the bones of an unimplementable, unmanageable and unpoliceable 14-day lockdown, people will simply ignore something that is so hopelessly defective … and what we’re trying to encourage the UK government in our direct calls with them is let’s have some effective measures like face masks,” O’Leary told BBC radio.
The UK government’s new requirement that international arrivals not covered by a shortlist of exemptions self-isolate for 14 days could threaten Ryanair’s plans to restore 40% of its flights starting in July. Many travelers will be reluctant to fly if they need to spend time in isolation after landing in the country.
With transmission of the virus now coming under control in the United Kingdom, and other countries beginning to lift lockdowns, new measures need to be put in place at the border, according to the UK government.
These measures will “prevent reinfection from abroad and a second wave of cases that overwhelms the NHS [National Health Service],” a spokesperson for the Home Office said in a statement on Monday.
O’Leary, who thinks the new measures will be dropped before the end of June, said it made no sense to quarantine international travelers, but not people using other forms of public transportation.
“This government is telling us you can’t fly unless you isolate for 14 days, yet you can go on the London Underground, you don’t have to isolate for 14 days. They’re making this stuff up as they go along and none of it has any basis in science,” he added.