Virgin Atlantic does not intend to resume flights until at least August, following the introduction of a 14-day quarantine on arrivals into the UK.
On Friday Secretary of State for the Home Department Priti Patel announced plans for the quarantine measures to start on June 8, affecting all arrivals except for trucks drivers and medical professionals, and those arriving from the Common Travel Area (Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands).
In a statement provided to Business Traveller, a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said:
“The safety and security of our people and our customers is always our top priority and public health must come first. However, by introducing a mandatory 14 day self-isolation for every single traveller entering the UK, the Government’s approach will prevent flights from resuming.
“We are continually reviewing our flying programme and with these restrictions, there simply won’t be sufficient demand to resume passenger services before August at the earliest.
“We know that as the Covid-19 crisis subsides, air travel will be a vital enabler of the UK’s economic recovery. Therefore, we are calling for a multi-layered approach of carefully targeted public health and screening measures, which will allow for a successful and safe restart of international air travel for passengers and businesses.”
Rival carrier British Airways is planning to return to “a meaningful service” in July, but IAG’s chief executive Willie Wash said earlier this month that “I would imagine that our capacity into and out of the UK would be pretty minimal” in the event of a quarantine period being introduced.
And last week Ryanair Group’s CEO Michael O’Leary called on the government to abandon the plans, stating that “Requiring international arrivals to quarantine only after they have used multiple public transport providers to get from the airport to their ultimate destination has no basis in science or medicine”.