‘It’s time to reopen transatlantic travel’: CEOs of Delta, Virgin, British Airways, American Airlines and JetBlue beg Joe Biden and Boris Johnson to announce travel corridor when they meet next month to ‘save economies and reunite families’
- A coalition of airlines and the US Chamber of Commerce wrote an open letter last week begging the UK and US to resume open travel
- The CEOs of of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and JetBlue Airways wrote a 2nd letter on Tuesday
- They are urging both the UK and US governments to announce an opening date
- Boris and Biden are due to meet in June with other world leaders at the G7
- The airlines say that would be the right time to announce reopening later in the summer
- They need enough time to staff flights and schedule them
- Travel to the US from the UK has been banned for non-US citizens since March 2020
- There have also been strict rules for entering the UK from the US
- The US is currently on a list of ‘Amber’ countries which means people have to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival
- Both the US and the UK have vaccinated around a third of their populations
Multiple airlines penned an open letter with the US Chamber of Commerce last week urging an announcement and on Tuesday, the CEOs of of Delta, Virgin, British Airways, American Airlines and JetBlue wrote their own letter.
They said they need adequate time to plan routes and to staff them after an announcement is made and that June 11-13 – when the two leaders meet at the G7 in Cornwall – would be the perfect time to announce it.
‘The return of Transatlantic flying would not only have a significantly positive impact on our respective economies but will also reunite those who have been separated from their loved ones for over a year.’
Neither Biden nor Boris Johnson have responded to it yet.
Both the US and the UK have vaccinated roughly a third of their populations and travel to and from each country from multiple others is allowed, but free travel between them has been banned since March 2020.
Currently, and as has been the case since March last year, a non-US citizen cannot fly directly from the UK into America .
British rules have fluctuated but currently, anyone from the US can fly to the UK so long as they quarantine for 10 days upon arrival and take multiple COVID-19 tests.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is scheduled to meet Joe Biden at the G7 next month. The aviation industry says it is the perfect time to announce that open travel can resume between the US and the UK – which has been banned since last March
The US has been moved onto a list of Amber countries in the UK that includes dozens of others.
From May 17, only people traveling from ‘Green’ countries will be able to enter the UK freely.
Those countries are Australia, Brunei, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Iceland, Israel and Jerusalemn, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, South Georgia, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.
Travel is permitted to the US from every country in the world apart from the UK, Europe, China, Iran, the UK, Ireland, Brazil, South Africa and India.
A British national living in America could not therefore return home to the UK, then fly back to America, under the current rules, and an American national living in the UK would only be able to if they quarantined for 10 days when they returned and did COVID-19 tests.
Now, airlines say it is time for that to change.
‘Safely reopening borders between the U.S. and UK is essential for both countries’ economic recovery from COVID-19,’ the letter urged.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said last week that there will never be a federal requirement that a person should be vaccinated.
It begs the question of what it will take for the US to reopen.
The flight from London to New York was the most lucrative in the world before the pandemic.
There were dozens a day, across multiple airlines and flying in and out of various airports.
The COVID-19 crippled the airline industry which had to drastically reduce flight schedules and lay off tens of thousands of staff.
A coalition of airlines including British Airways begged the two world leaders to reopen. The airlines have furloughed or laid off tens of thousands of staff, surviving only through freight flights over the last 14 months