CONFIRMED: Ryanair and MAG to sue government

The UK's biggest airport operator and Europe's largest low-cost carrier have launched legal action against the government over the 'traffic light' travel rules

Ryanair is to officially launch a legal challenge against the government over the travel traffic light system later today. The airline will be joined by Manchester Airports Group (MAG) which owns and operates Manchester, London/Stansted and East Midlands airports.  

Photo: MAG

Europe’s largest carrier has criticised Boris Johnson’s “mismanagement” of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the reopening of the UK economy following the vaccine rollout programme. The legal bid will seek to force the Government into revealing how it decides which countries are placed on the green, amber and red travel lists. 

The announcement comes as Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary described the UK’s Covid travel policy as a “shambles”, following the recent removal of Portugal from the green list. Currently, arrivals from amber countries will need to quarantine, while red-list countries are placed under the strictest travel rules which include managed quarantine in a hotel.

“The Green List is non-existent because countries such as Malta and Portugal, with lower Covid case numbers than the UK and rapidly rising vaccination rates, remain on Amber. Meanwhile, UK citizens almost 80% of whom will be vaccinated by the end of June, continue to face Covid restrictions on travel to and from the European Union, despite the fact that the majority of the European Union citizens will also be vaccinated by the end of June,” O’Leary told BBC News.  

He added: “UK tourism and aviation needs a pragmatic travel policy which permits vaccinated citizens to travel between the UK and the EU without the need for quarantine or negative PCR tests. It is time for Boris Johnson to end his gross mismanagement of COVID, and take advantage of the UK’s successful vaccine programme to allow the restoration of free movement of vaccinated UK citizens.”