Strong words over EU states’ travel policies from easyJet CEO

EasyJet’s Chief Executive, Johan Lundgren, has demanded European governments focus on developing coherent air travel policies as opposed to shielding national carriers as carriers struggle to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lundgren was quite blunt in his criticism of varying restrictions and quarantine measures which he felt had contributed to the slump in air travel because of “tremendous confusion.” He added that “There needs to be a common approach when it comes to the things that have to do with testing (and) quarantine,” Lundgren said during the event hosted by Brussels-based industry group Airlines for Europe (A4E).

Pressure is currently mounting on some of the weaker airlines with the delay in recovery of passenger numbers which now threatens jobs and will likely see governments have to fund a further round of emergency funding.

According to Reuters news agency, 4.2 million European flights and 140 billion euros (US$166 billion) in revenue have already been lost to the crisis, with airlines condemning quarantines as a disproportionate response and a major travel deterrent.

A coordinated global approach is key to restoring long-haul travel, said Sebastian Mikosz of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). “We are not at the stage of the recovery, we are still at the stage of the survival,” he said. “If you have any form of quarantine [it’s] absolutely equivalent to closing the market.”

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