Willie Walsh has warned in The Times today that “The UK has officially hung up the “Closed” sign”

He said that “Britain’s economy is powered by our international connectivity and the ease with which we do business with other countries. Make no mistake: this is being destroyed by the government’s blanket quarantine on travel from a staggering 160 countries.”

Walsh who has postponed his retirement as Chief Executive Officer of IAG as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic said that an “…enforced quarantine from an ever-shifting list of countries isn’t effective. Healthy people shouldn’t be locked up for 14 days simply because they have been travelling. People relaxing on holiday pose no more of a threat than someone catching a bus to the supermarket.”

British Airways relies for much of its profits on transatlantic traffic, yet “US travellers facing a mandatory 14-day self-isolation on arrival in Britain won’t travel when, on average, their stay lasts fewer than seven nights”.

Walsh pointed out that just as in the UK, “incidences of Covid-19 vary hugely between different US states and cities so what sense is there in imposing blanket quarantine on all arrivals?”

British Airways along with Heathrow, Collinson and Swissport are instead pushing testing at airports.

Collinson and Swissport Covid-19 facility ready for arrivals at Heathrow

Walsh said that an agreement was needed between the US and UK governments to reopen without blanket quarantine measures along with affordable dual testing, although even this would require passengers to self- isolate for several days.

Walsh said: “We’re emerging into a new era as a heavily indebted nation. We need to get Britain back on its feet. We can survive this but the government must stop dithering and remove unnecessary roadblocks.”