Region's airports welcome first passengers subject to new quarantine rules

  • Watch a video report from ITV Anglia's Matthew Hudson

The requirement for people arriving from abroad to self-isolate for 14 days has been heavily criticised by the aviation and travel industry.

From Monday, passengers arriving on flights at Stansted, Luton, Norwich and Southend airports were required to provide the address they are planning to stay at for a fortnight.

Mr Calder, travel correspondent for The Independent, told ITV Anglia the rules suggest "the government is absolutely intent on doing as much damage as it can to aviation".

  • Travel journalist Simon Calder on the new quarantine rules

He warned that all four of the airports in the Anglia region will suffer as a result of the new rules.

He said: "Those airports will survive but they will be financially weakened and, as travellers, we will have far less choice and we’ll probably be paying more for the pleasure of travelling in the new normal."

The coronavirus outbreak saw airlines significantly cut back their schedules - at one point Ryanair were operating around 1% of the flights they usually would - but many have announced plans to ramp up operations.

For the smaller airports in the Anglia region - Norwich and Southend - the pandemic has seen virtually all passenger services cancelled, while a skeleton service is running at both Luton and Stansted.

Southend Airport has essentially been closed during the outbreak Credit: ITV Anglia

Passengers arriving at Stansted on a flight from Eindhoven in the Netherlands shared their views on new quarantine measures.

Shopkeeper Netti Rexhmet, 32, who runs an off-licence in Chigwell in London, said the rule will prevent him from working for a fortnight.

Speaking as he walked through arrivals on Monday, he said: "We haven't got any other options, it's Government law so I shall do it.

"For me, I wouldn't want to do it. I'd like to be open.

"I've got things to do, you have to live now, you have to pay."

The government have defended the rules, which they claim are to prevent new infections arriving in the country.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "We all want to return to normal as quickly as possible. But this cannot be at the expense of lives.

"The science is clear that if we limit the risk of new cases being brought in from abroad, we can help stop a devastating second wave.

"That is why the measures coming into force today are necessary. They will help control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives."

The government have said they are looking at the possibility of setting up 'air bridges', agreements with other countries which would negate the need for quarantine measures.

The idea has been backed by Stobart Aviation, which runs Southend Airport.

Glyn Jones, CEO of Stobart Aviation, said: “We would prefer the government to consider the scalpel of air bridges rather than the current sledgehammer approach of quarantine."

ITV Anglia spoke to passengers arriving at Stansted on Monday:

However Michael O'Leary, the boss of Ryanair, which has its UK headquarters in Stansted, has called the rules "irrational".

He said his airline is experiencing a "collapse of inward bookings" for flights this summer.

Mr O'Leary told Good Morning Britain: "We're seeing thousands of British families booking their holidays in Portugal, in Spain and Italy, but there's almost a collapse of inward bookings bringing those Italians, bringing those Europeans here to the UK, on which Britain's tourism industry depends, particularly in the peak months of July and August.

"What's irrational about it is all of those countries have a much lower Covid rate than the UK."

He added: "Millions of jobs are going to be lost in British tourism because British hotels, British guest houses, British visitor attractions - all over London, the Globe, the London Eye, Madame Tussauds - will be empty, because the hundreds of thousands of Italians and Spanish and French people you get coming to Britain every July and August simply won't travel."

Ryanair has joined with easyJet and British Airways' owner IAG in starting legal proceedings in relation to the policy.