Ryanair (RYA.L) said it is cancelling all flights to Denmark due to the government’s new rules requiring all crew returning to the UK from the country to quarantine for 14 days and banning Danish citizens from flying in, labelling the restrictions as “bizarre and baseless”.
“We have been notified at short notice by the UK department of transport that our crews cannot operate flights to/from Denmark without 14-day quarantine upon return to the UK, despite the fact they never leave the aircraft during their 25-minute turnaround on the ground in Copenhagen airport,” the company said in a statement.
The budget airline said it appealed the decision as “there is no scientific basis” for such a quarantine, and was told transport minister Grant Shapps’s decision cannot be changed.
“We therefore have no choice but to cancel all flights to/from Denmark with immediate effect until this bizarre and baseless 14-day aircrew quarantine is removed,” it said.
The note emphasised that the airline’s flight crews have been operating since 1 July in compliance with all EU health guidelines and there is no case of Ryanair crew catching or passing the virus onboard an aircraft.
It added it is working with the government “to encourage them to waive this baseless and non-scientific aircrew restriction.”
The company’s share price was up roughly 5% Monday morning.
Over the weekend, the UK announced it will ban foreign entry to visitors from Denmark amid widespread outbreaks of COVID-19 in the country’s mink farms, as of 4am on Saturday.
All non-British national or resident travellers who have been in or transited through Denmark in the last 14 days will be denied entry into Britain.
The government also said its expanding the self-isolation rules for Denmark, and removed the country from the government’s list of travel corridors on Friday.
Shapps, announcing the move on Twitter, said: “This decision to act quickly follows on from health authorities in Denmark reporting widespread outbreaks of coronavirus in mink farms. Keeping the UK public safe remains our top priority.”
From 4am on 7 November, British Nationals or residents who are returning to the UK directly or indirectly from Denmark will need to self-isolate with other members of their household until two weeks have passed since they were last in Denmark.
— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) November 7, 2020
Denmark announced strict new lockdown measures and a nationwide cull of millions of minks bred in the country’s 1,139 mink farms after authorities discovered a mutated virus strain in the animals.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit the travel industry hard. Last week, Ryanair said its October 2020 traffic was down 70% to 4.1 million passengers.
Meanwhile, EasyJet (EZJ.L) has announced that the new lockdown in England has forced it to scale back flying capacity, which had already been reduced by similar measures taken in France and Germany. Its shares were up around 3.7% Monday morning.
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