British Airways’ parent company is considering taking legal action against the Government’s decision to impose a 14-day quarantine on international arrivals.

IAG chief executive Willie Walsh described the policy as “terrible” and warned it has “torpedoed our opportunity to get flying in July”.

He told Sky News: “We think it’s irrational, we think it’s disproportionate, and we are giving consideration to a legal challenge to this legislation.

“We’re reviewing that with the lawyers later on today.

“I suspect there are other airlines who are doing so because it’s important to point out there was no consultation with the industry prior to enacting this legislation.

“We do believe it is an irrational piece of legislation.”

From Monday, people arriving in the UK will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

There has been widespread concern that this will cause huge damage to the travel and aviation sectors as they recover from the coronavirus outbreak.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has insisted the rule is “backed by the science” and is “essential” to save lives.

IAG had previously said it intends to make “a meaningful return to service” in July.

British Airways declined to join a meeting between Ms Patel and the travel industry to discuss the quarantine on Thursday.

It is understood the Home Office received no reply from the airline after being invited to the discussion, which was attended by several of its competitors including Virgin Atlantic, easyJet and Jet2.

Len McCluskey, general secretary of union Unite, said it was “frankly irresponsible that BA would sit this out”.

The airline has announced plans to cut up to 12,000 jobs as part of a restructuring.