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Published on Tuesday, June 8, 2021

UK, US airlines ramp up the pressure to reopen transatlantic travel



The airline industry is demanding swift action to get UK-US passenger services up and running again.


Top leaders in aviation and travel came together ahead of the G7 meeting, including the CEOs of American Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic, along with London Heathrow Airport.


They are arguing their vaccination rates present a clear opportunity to safely open up travel between two low-risk countries.


The CEOs urged both governments to take a data-driven and risk-based approach to re-opening borders to travel.





In the US, 63.5% of adults have received at least one dose, while about half of adults - 139 million people have been fully vaccinated.


In the UK, more than 75% of the country's adult population has received at least one shot.


Sean Doyle, Chairman and CEO, British Airways said: "As President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson meet this week, 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."


"It's clear that the infection rates of our countries indicate an extraordinarily low risk to travel between the US the UK, provided travellers are vaccinated or can produce a negative PCR test prior to boarding a flight," said Ed Bastian, CEO, Delta Air Lines.


The group has encouraged the US government to consider lifting entry requirements for UK travellers who have provided a negative Covid test ahead of arriving in the US, or are fully vaccinated.


On the UK side, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was asked to consider removing the need for travellers returning to the UK from 'green list' countries to complete an expensive and time-consuming PCR test on their arrival, instead calling for lateral flow tests, used in care homes and schools, with only positive tests requiring a PCR test.

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