High Court backs government after MAG traffic light case

The High Court has backed the government after it faced an industry legal challenge led by Manchester Airports Group arguing for the government to publish the data behind decisions on the traffic light status of destinations.

Judges ruled that the interested parties, including Ryanair, BA parent IAG, Virgin Atlantic, Tui UK, easyJet and industry entrepreneur Clive Jacobs on behalf of SMEs, had grounds for a judicial review.

But the ruling rejected a series of challenges outlined by the claimants based on a duty to give reasons and transparency behind decisions, “legitimate expectation” and “Convention rights”.

More: ‘No reason data can’t be provided’, MAG lawyers tell High Court

Following the ruling, Charlie Cornish, chief executive of Manchester Airports Group (MAG), Michael O’Leary, Ryanair Group chief executive, Luis Gallego, chief executive of IAG, easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren, Andrew Flintham, managing director, Tui UK & Ireland and Shai Weiss, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic issued a statement.

It said: “British businesses and consumers deserve to understand how the government takes decisions on the traffic light system so that they can book their travel with confidence whether for business, visiting friends and family or simply taking a holiday.

“The way decisions have been taken to date has not been transparent and has created huge confusion and uncertainty for the British public. In a recent poll 80% of UK consumers agreed.

“The most recent changes including to the status of travellers from France which overnight created yet another category of “amber+” were shambolic and made it even harder for consumers and businesses to plan. The Government should do the right thing by consumers and provide clarity on any changes it makes to the system.

“If the government is truly following the data then it must make significant changes to the ‘green’ list including adding the US and major EU countries. There is also no reason why travellers from the US and EU should not be exempt from quarantine and testing as soon as possible. The UK has already fallen behind the EU’s reopening and our overly cautious approach to international travel will further impact our economic recovery.”

PDF: Access the ruling here

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