The Jerusalem Post

Ryanair sues Britain over summer travel curbs

- • By AKRITI SHARMA and SARAH YOUNG

LONDON (Reuters) – Irish airline Ryanair is launching a legal challenge against Britain over its “traffic light” system for internatio­nal travel, hoping to force a relaxation of strict rules that threaten the summer vacation season.

The airline has teamed up with Manchester Airports Group (MAG) and the pair filed legal papers at England’s High Court on Thursday to seek clarity over the transparen­cy of the system, a MAG spokespers­on said.

Other airlines are expected to join the legal action.

With just weeks before the peak July and August travel season when most profits are made, the aviation industry is worried about losing another summer to COVID-19 as the British government blocks most travel, meaning more job losses and financial strain.

The industry has repeatedly criticized the government’s traffic light system for internatio­nal destinatio­ns, saying it is

unpredicta­ble and doesn’t make scientific sense. It says some low risk countries and islands should be open for travel.

A government spokespers­on

said it cannot comment on legal proceeding­s.

“We recognize this is a challengin­g period for the sector, as we seek to balance the timely

reopening of internatio­nal travel while safeguardi­ng public health and protecting the vaccine roll-out,” the government said in a statement.

Britain allowed vacations again from May after months of lockdown but discourage­s travel to popular holiday destinatio­ns such as Spain, France, Greece and the United States, classifyin­g them as “amber” under its traffic light system.

This means travelers must quarantine for 10 days on their return and take multiple COVID-19 tests. Only a handful of places are classified as green, and none in the European Union after Portugal was removed at short notice earlier in June.

The court papers will argue the British government should clearly explain how it makes decisions on categorizi­ng countries, given the “dramatic” impact these decisions have on the aviation industry.

“The current opaque way that decisions are being made is underminin­g consumer confidence to book summer holidays and makes it impossible for airports, airlines and other travel companies to plan for the recovery of internatio­nal travel,” the companies said in a statement to Reuters.

 ?? (Pedro Nunes/Reuters) ?? A RYANAIR FLIGHT from Manchester arrives at Faro Airport in Portugal in May.
(Pedro Nunes/Reuters) A RYANAIR FLIGHT from Manchester arrives at Faro Airport in Portugal in May.

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