Airline bosses call on UK and U.S. to lift trans-Atlantic travel restrictions


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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Travellers at Heathrow Airport, London, Britain, February 13, 2021. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

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LONDON (Reuters) – The bosses of all airlines flying passenger services between Britain and the United States called on Monday for the countries’ governments to relax COVID-19 restrictions to reopen travel routes between the two countries.

After more than a year of restrictions, the CEOs of American Airlines (NASDAQ:), IAG (LON:) unit British Airways, Delta Air Lines (NYSE:), United Airlines and JetBlue Airways Corp said high vaccination rates in both countries meant travel could restart safely.

The push for reopening trans-Atlantic routes on Monday comes ahead of meetings between U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the G7 meeting of advanced economies later this week in Cornwall, southwest England, this week.

The pair must use those meetings to agree to restart travel, British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle said in a statement ahead of an online press conference.

“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,” Doyle said.

Since March 2020, the United States has barred nearly all non-U.S. citizens who have been in the United Kingdom within the previous 14 days from entering the country. Most U.S. travellers visiting the United Kingdom must quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.

The need for a reopening is much stronger for Britain-based airlines British Airways and Virgin Atlantic which are not benefiting from a rebounding domestic market like their U.S. peers.

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