Restart travel between UK and US, aviation bosses tell Boris Johnson and Joe Biden

7 June 2021, 18:51

Aeroplane company bosses have urged Mr Johnson and Mr Biden to restart their countries' travel links
Aeroplane company bosses have urged Mr Johnson and Mr Biden to restart their countries' travel links. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

Aviation bosses have demanded Boris Johnson and Joe Biden ease up travel restrictions between the UK and the US ahead of their first meeting as leaders.

Visitors landing in the UK from the US must self-isolate for 10 days because the country is on Britain's amber list.

Mr Johnson and the US president will see each other during the G7 summit in Cornwall this week and ahead of that, in a joint virtual press conference, executives insisted travel between their countries should be green lit again.

High vaccination rates and lower prevalence of Covid in both were among their arguments in favour.

Virgin Atlantic chief executive Shai Weiss said there is "no reason" why arrivals from the US should not be able to come to the UK quarantine free.

He said: "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 the 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."

Read more: UK travel rules: Where can Brits travel to after Portugal lost its green list status?

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He added: "It's really time that we focus on the economic harm that we're causing the economies on both sides of the pond and of course to businesses, tourists, visiting friends and family, that is so essential."

Sean Doyle, chairman and chief executive of British Airways, said the leaders should "look to the science and base their judgments on a proper risk analysis".

"We can set the pace for international travel. Two countries with low prevalence of infection, high vaccination rates, low risk. We've got to go for it," he added.

The way Portugal's swift removal from the UK's quarantine-free green list to amber was handled was "disappointing", Mr Doyle said.

"I think we can make a much better fist of the framework in giving both travellers and the industry a lot more certainty."

Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye 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."