Leading airlines have convened to discuss the reopening of transatlantic travel ahead of the G7 summit in Cornwall scheduled to hold later this week.
The companies calling for reopening include American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, JetBlue, and British Airways, all of which take the UK-US route, according to a statement seen by BizWatch Nigeria.
Reopening the transatlantic travel route would stimulate economic recovery, as the aviation industry remains one of the hardest-hit industries by the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Airline representatives at the meeting were the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of American Airlines, Dough Parker; the CEO and Chairman of British Airways, Sean Doyle; CEO of Delta Airlines, Ed Bastian, CEO of JetBlue, Robin Hayes; and the CEO of Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye.
Others were the CEO of United Airlines, Scott Kirby; the President and CEO of U.S. Travel Association, Roger Dow; and the CEO of Virgin Atlantic, Shai Weiss.
The event was hosted by the Chief Executive of BritishAmerican Business, Duncan Edwards.
Discussing the benefits of partnerships between the US and the UK, participants noted that travel restrictions placed on travellers from both countries were hurting the business.
On the part of the UK, the advantages of putting the US on its ‘green list’ was discussed, which means that travlleres from the US would not be required to self-isolate upon arrival in the UK.
And the US mulled the possibility of lifting the UK travel ban also known as the 212(f) order, to make it easy for travellers from the UK to freely enter the US.
Benefits Of Reopening Transatlantic Route
The United Kingdom loses 23 million pounds with each passing day that the transatlantic route remains shut.
Speaking at the meeting, British Airways CEO, Sean Doyle, said, “As President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson meet this week, they must address the transatlantic ban that is separating our two low-risk countries at a major cost to our citizens and economies.
“We urgently need them to look to the science and base their judgements on a proper risk analysis, allowing us all to benefit from the protection offered by our successful vaccine rollouts. In the UK this means making the traffic light system fit for purpose, including a pathway to restriction-free travel for vaccinated travellers, and getting rid of complexity surrounding ‘amber list’ countries, eliminating quarantine and reducing the number of tests passengers are required to take.”
While Shai Weiss of Virgin Atlantic said, “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.
“While transatlantic links with the US are restricted, it’s costing UK economy £23 million each day. We urge Prime Minister Johnson and President Biden to lead the way in opening the skies, making it a top priority at the G7 Summit.
“Customers, families and businesses need to book and travel with confidence. After 15 months of restrictions, the time to act is now.”
On the safe reopening of the route, Heathrow CEO John Holland said, “Connectivity between the UK and the US is one of the great engines of the global economy. The scientific data shows transatlantic travel and trade can be reopened safely and every day that policymakers delay puts jobs, livelihoods, and the economic chances of hardworking folks across our countries at risk unnecessarily.
“We cannot continue to keep locked-up indefinitely. Politicians should seize on the successful vaccination programmes in our two countries to begin looking to a future where we manage COVID rather than letting it manage us.”