The chief executives of every airline that offers regularly scheduled flights between the United States and the United Kingdom have joined together in an unprecedented move to demand President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson open a quarantine-free travel corridor between the two countries.
This is the first time that the chief executives of six major airlines have come together in such a way to exert pressure ahead of the G7 meeting in Cornwall.
Airline executives from American Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic came together with a slew of other top industry players to demand the end of travel restrictions.
Following a highly successful COVID-19 vaccine rollout in both countries, now is the time to lift travel restrictions the CEO’s argue. The US has imposed its Presidential 212(f) travel ban on the UK since March 2020, while the UK continues to demand that anyone travelling from the United States go into quarantine for 10 days even if they’re fully vaccinated.
The industry claims British businesses are losing as much as £23 million every single day that the travel restrictions remain in force.
“There is no reason for the US to be absent from the UK ‘Green’ list. This overly cautious approach fails to reap the benefits of the successful vaccination programmes in both the UK and the US,” commented Shai Weiss, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic which narrowly avoided going out of business at the height of the pandemic.
The future, however, remains far from certain.
Sean Doyle, chief executive of British Airways blasted the British government’s ‘traffic light’ system for international travel saying ministers need to start basing decisions on the science. Doyle slated the government for not exempting fully vaccinated travellers from quarantine and expensive tests.
Both American Airlines and United Airlines said they were ready to add capacity on transatlantic routes as soon as they get the nod. In recent weeks, U.S. carriers, including Delta, have been able to add flights to European countries like Spain, France and Greece as they announced pathways for fully vaccinated Americans to visit.
But reopening international travel at scale remains politically toxic with a majority of the electorate in the UK wishing the British government would slam the country’s borders shut completely to keep out dangerous variant’s of the Coronavirus.
In one recent poll by Ipsos Moris, 70 per cent of Brits said everyone entering the UK should be made to quarantine in a hotel and 67 per cent backed a complete ban on anyone entering the UK from another country. Over half of those polled also supported an international holiday ban.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.