EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren has joined the likes of Ryanair in lashing out at European governments for their inconsistent approach to travel restrictions and quarantine requirements throughout the continent.
The low-cost carrier executive spoke out at an online event hosted by Brussels-based industry group Airlines for Europe, which welcomed both industry figures and EU policymakers, to encourage a more co-ordinated approach that could assist in the recovery of the aviation sector.
Lundgren said that governments should work with airlines and one another, and focus on developing coherent air travel policies that assist the whole aviation industry, rather than just bailing out national carriers.
Further, he blamed some of the downturn in travel demand around Europe on the “tremendous confusion” caused by differing restrictions and quarantine measures that appear to change overnight.
“There needs to be a common approach when it comes to the things that have to do with testing (and) quarantine,” Lundgren said.
Pressure on the sector is only growing, as the European summer travel season saw lower passenger numbers than was initially expected, and COVID-19 continues to spread in many regions across Europe.
Current estimates suggest that the European aviation industry alone has already lost over €140 billion in revenue thanks to the COVID-19 crisis.
As such, many airlines have expressed their displeasure with current quarantine and travel restrictions implemented throughout Europe, particularly in light of the fact that each nation has a different set of rules, and how often these rules appear to change.
Ryanair group CEO Michael O’Leary called Europe’s haphazard quarantine requirements “completely defective and non-scientific”, stating that, because of them, Europe’s winter travel season will be “a write-off”.
Ryanair has previously labelled some European countries’ introduction of limited ‘green’ travel lists between other nations with a specified lower number of COVID cases as “bizarre”, “ineffective” and “restrictive”.
Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association is also in support of a global co-ordinated approach, in order to restore consumer confidence in long-haul travel.
Beyond that, a co-ordinated 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,” Mikosz said, speaking of the international aviation sector.
“If you have any form of quarantine [it’s] absolutely equivalent to closing the market.”