June 9, 2020 / 6:52 AM / a month ago

Future of UK quarantine unclear as Spain says not discussing air bridges

LONDON (Reuters) - Spain is not in talks with Britain to allow unrestricted travel via “air bridges” and would prefer a Europe-wide approach to tourism this summer, a foreign ministry source in Madrid said, potentially complicating the UK’s plans for the season.

FILE PHOTO: Passengers arrive at Heathrow Airport, as Britain launches its 14-day quarantine for international arrivals, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain, June 8, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Britain introduced a 14-day quarantine for international arrivals on Monday but government ministers have said they are looking at whether travel corridors could allow Britons to go on holiday in destinations with a low coronavirus infection rate.

London will review its policy after three weeks and a British tourism lobby group said it had been assured by senior government sources that corridors would be in place by the end of that period.

A foreign ministry source in Spain, the most popular holiday destination for Britons, told Reuters however that there were no discussions with Britain on a travel corridor, and Madrid hoped for a European Union-wide travel deal.

“Spain has called for a common (EU-wide) approach to opening the borders. If this is not done, it will establish its own criteria,” the source said.

The British government is coming under increased pressure over its quarantine policy, with critics asking why it was not in place earlier when the virus was spreading, and the aviation industry warning it will hammer jobs and tourism.

Quash Quarantine, representing 500 travel and hospitality companies, said it had been told privately that air corridors would be in place from June 29.

Airlines want the quarantine policy scrapped.

British Airways (ICAG.L) has joined Ryanair (RYA.I) and easyJet (EZJ.L) in a plan to launch legal action to try to overturn it.

Quash Quarantine did not rule out legal action itself.

“We are still considering our options regarding legal action, including whether to join BA’s claim or launch our own action, but would prefer that 29th June is confirmed as soon as possible for the start of travel corridors,” spokesman Paul Charles said.

Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Kate Holton and Giles Elgood

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