British Airways reportedly declined to attend an industry roundtable with home secretary Priti Patel and aviation minister Kelly Tolhurst on Thursday (4 June).
Patel this week reached out to the aviation and transport sectors, as well as the UK’s wider travel and tourism industry, while setting out the government’s 14-day quarantine on arrival requirement, which is due to come into force on Monday (8 June).
However, BA and parent IAG refused the olive branch. No reason was given, and IAG has declined to comment further, the BBC reports.
It comes after BA was blasted by MPs during a Commons debate on Wednesday (3 June) after it announced plans to cut up to 12,000 jobs, a quarter of its workforce, while leaning heavily on the government’s furlough scheme. One MP branded it a "breach of faith".
“The recent announcement about redundancies from companies such as British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and easyJet will be very distressing news to staff," said Tolhurst. “These are commercial decisions, and they are decisions I regret, particularly from those benefiting from the job retention [furlough] scheme.
“The scheme was not designed for taxpayers to fund the wages of employees, only for those companies to put the same staff on notice of redundancy during the furlough period."
EasyJet, Virgin and the owners of Heathrow airport were among those to dial in to the call with Patel and Tolhurst on Thursday, which reportedly focused on the sector’s concerns about quarantine and the lack of dedicated support for travel and transport, particularly aviation.
It came as more than 500 travel companies and travel leaders backed calls for the UK’s quarantine measures to be scrapped in favour of an air bridge or safe travel corridor regime, allowing arrivals from countries with lower rates of coronavirus infection to bypass the 14-day self-isolation requirement.