EasyJet CEO says legal case against UK quarantine is strong

FILE PHOTO: Johan Lundgren CEO of easyJet, attends the Europe Aviation Summit in Brussels, Belgium March 3, 2020. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s quarantine plan was rushed into existence, is out of proportion and should be challenged in the courts, according to the head of easyJet which has joined rivals in threatening legal proceedings.

Chief Executive Johan Lundgren said he believed easyJet, Ryanair RYA.I and British Airways ICAG.L had a good chance of winning any legal battle and warned that if the measure stayed in place for a long time he could have to make further job cuts.

Britain on Monday introduced a 14-day quarantine for international arrivals despite the threat of legal action.

“We think that there’s enough evidence and there’s a strong case here that this should be challenged by the courts. This is something that has been rushed through. It’s not in proportion,” Lundgren told Sky News on Monday.

EasyJet is already planning to cut 4,500 jobs or 30% of its workforce because of the coronavirus crisis, and Lundgren said quarantine would make the situation even worse.

He said he hoped the threat of legal action would push the government to replace the measure with “a targeted approach that is based on the solutions of air bridges”, which allow people to travel freely between countries with low infection rates.

When asked if the quarantine could lead to more job losses, he said, “I fear so...I think and I fear unless there is a change to this (the quarantine rule), that the aviation industry as we know it here in the UK will not be in tact.”

Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Kate Holton