EasyJet Chief Executive Johan Lundgren said on Tuesday that European governments should focus on preparing coherent air travel policies instead of shielding national air carriers, with airlines struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whilst speaking at an online event with industry CEOs and EU policymakers, Lundgren blamed some of the slowdown in air traffic on the “tremendous confusion” that currently surrounds airlines with regards to differing restrictions and quarantine measures.
Lundgren stated that “There needs to be a common approach when it comes to the things that have to do with testing (and) quarantine”.
He was speaking during an event which was hosted by Brussels-based industry group Airlines for Europe.
The airline sector is facing more pressure than ever before, with the travel slump dragging on for longer than many had expected, leading to an increasing threat to weaker players in the market, as well as the prospect of there being a new round of government bailouts.
Airlines have already lost 4.2 million European flights and 140 billion euros in revenue due to the pandemic according to Eurocontrol data, leading to them condemning the quarantines being imposed as a disproportionate response and a hinderance to major travel.
The European Union is currently struggling to encourage governments to follow common risk assessments and principles governing travel rules, as they aim to restore order despite their being chaos when it comes to policies.
On a global scale, there has been a coordinated global approach that is key to restoring long-haul travel, according to Sebastian Mikosz of the International Air Transport Association.
He stated that the industry is “not at the stage of the recovery, we are still at the stage of the survival,” adding that “If you have any form of quarantine (it’s) absolutely equivalent to closing the market.”
During the whole COVID-19 pandemic, the airline industry has been the worst-hit when it comes to revenue generated, with numerous airports being completely closed and with flights being cancelled in practically every country in Europe from March till July.