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Published on Monday, September 21, 2020

Govt urged to open US corridor amid warning UK is losing £32m a day

Multi-million-pound trade deals are at risk unless the government gives its backing to an airport testing trial to open up UK-US flight routes.

Research commissioned by Airlines UK and Heathrow airport shows British business is losing £32 million a day because there is no 'air bridge' between the two countries.

They want to start a pilot scheme, between London and New York City, in which travellers would quarantine, then be tested before flying, and get tested again at the other end.

In an article for The Daily Telegraph, Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland Kaye urged the government to back the trial.

He said: "If you believe in Brexit and a truly global Britain that leads the world in trade, restarting safe travel and trade with the US must also be your battle. As long as the skies between the US and the UK remain closed, Brexit will not mean Brexit."

He told Radio 4's Today programme that the importance of connections between the UK and the US cannot cannot be overestimated.

"It's hugely important for tourism and business. Unless we can start to normalise trade with the US, then jobs will be lost."

He said the pilot programme between New York City and London would be a 'good place to start'.

"We can control who is flying from where, with testing before people get on planes, quarantining at home before flying,  then taking another test on arrival."

He added the pilot could become a 'common standard' that could be replicated around the world and 'globally get moving again'.

The study, by analysts York Aviation, found that the UK GDP will lose £11 billion as a result of the closed route between the US and the UK with a significant proportion falling in the final quarter of the year.

"By the beginning of October the closed air corridor between the US and the UK will be costing the UK economy £32m each day the air corridor remains closed," said the report.

This is based on a collapse in passengers of 92% from March, when lockdown was introduced, to 85 per cent in September, compared with 2019.

The study found it was not just London and the South East that were being with 80 weekly flights between the US and six regional airports also currently on ice.

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  • Not practical

    They want to start a pilot scheme, between London and New York City, in which travellers would quarantine /// for how long? And how can that actually be policed? then be tested before flying, /// how many days ahead of time? What is the turn around for test results? and get tested again at the other end. /// again - how practical is this? Would there be a need to wait in situ in a Covid-19 safe facility until the test results come back? What if a business trip is just over-night? Would there need to be a minimum-stay? The quarantine before travel is not the way forward.

    By Edward Jospe, Tuesday, September 22, 2020

  • It's not just the US

    Ski Tour Operators to French resorts (and Swiss ones) are being strangled by the quarantine being imposed on anyone returning from the two countries. We all risk not having a season at all (having lost 25% of last winter's ski season) if the quarantine isn't lifted soon.

    By Fiona Easdale, Monday, September 21, 2020

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