United Kingdom

Airlines CEOs beg Biden and Boris Johnson to reopen transatlantic travel

The aviation industry is begging Joe Biden and British Prime Minister to reopen transatlantic travel to save both US and British economy and reunite families who have been separated for over a year.

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. 

The coalition said that when Boris and Biden meet in June at the G7 in Cornwall with other world leaders, it would be the ideal team 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. 

Since March 2020, most people have been banned from flying directly from the UK into America. 

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 

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.

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 return home to the UK, then fly back to America, under the current rules. 

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 

The US has has vaccinated a third of the country and the UK has vaccinated nearly a third of its population.  Now, airlines say it is time to reopen Transatlantic routes. 

'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 COVID-19 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.

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