The CEOs of five major airlines flying between the US and the UK jointly called for their governments to end travel restrictions between them.
In an unusual move, the heads of American Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and JetBlue Airways, gave a joint on-line press conference on Monday. The first four are currently the only airlines flying directly between the US and the UK. JetBlue should join them later this summer.
There is also Aer Lingus, flying direct from Manchester in Britain, to the US. However they are part of IAG, making them a ‘sister airline’ to British Airways. So their view on the matter should mirror that of the other airlines in the on-line press conference. The five airlines outlined why the current travel restrictions between the US and the UK have become unnecessary.
This joint on-line call comes just before the G7 summit, that will take place in England. The US President and the UK Prime Minister will meet in its sidelines. The vaccination drives in the two countries and the reopening of their economies, should feature high in their discussions. The five CEOs of these UK and US airlines, argued both health and financial justifications, to end travel restrictions.
Lifting US – UK Travel Restrictions: Arguments of the Airlines
The United States and Britain both have similarly high vaccination rates. Infection rates have been dropping as a result. The airlines therefore want to see at the very least a timeline, for the ease of restrictions between the US and the UK. As things stand, most Britons can’t travel to the United States at this time.
US visitors going to Britain have to quarantine for 10 days. However they have the option of taking a PCR test on the 5th day, to end the quarantine. But obviously they will still need to wait for its result. In the UK’s traffic light system, the airlines would like to the US in the Green category. Presently, it’s Amber, which calls for the requirements above.
As for the financial case to reopen travel, the US and UK airlines stressed that this is part of re-opening the economy, not just a frill. British Airways CEO Sean Doyle, said:
“I think there’s much more at stake here than a holiday, it’s about trade, it’s about visiting friends and relatives, and it’s about getting back and doing business and re-employing people.”
So, will we see the reopening of air travel soon? We will see, but early indications from Britain’s side are not encouraging. As we saw, the UK Green list recently got smaller, when most observers expected the opposite. However, scientists constantly get newer information. So like the airlines, we will need to wait for the G7 summit, to see what changes, if any, it brings to US and UK travellers.