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Grant Shapps tells LBC London to New York flight route 'could reopen with new president'

15 January 2021, 09:00

Grant Shapps said the London to New York flight path could open under the new presidnet
Grant Shapps said the London to New York flight path could open under the new presidnet. Picture: PA / LBC

By Maddie Goodfellow

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has told LBC the London to New York flight route could reopen "with the new President" as he revealed President Trump decided not to sign an Executive Order to allow flights to Europe.

Asked by Nick Ferrari on LBC when Brits could travel to New York without quarantine, Mr Shapps said: "I’m afraid the US President has decided not to sign what’s called 212(f).

"This is an Executive Order which would allow flights to open up to Europe and so flights from Europe, so anyone who’s been in Europe and the UK for the last 14 days cannot travel to the United States."

Nick then pushed the Transport Secretary on whether this could change when Joe Biden is inaugurated on Wednesday, to which Mr Shapps responded: "It might change with the new President but it also, you know, the UK has now vaccinated 3 million people with at least the first jab, more than France, Germany, Italy, Spain combined.

"We are well on our way to our target of getting to the first 15 million most vulnerable people and I just want to say there is a future out there isn’t there, where we’ve dealt with this, the world’s dealt with this through vaccination.

"So I know it will change, I’m desperate for us not to have all manner of bans and other things in place but for the time being safety first I’m afraid."

Read more: Nick Ferrari challenges Grant Shapps over speed of Brazil travel ban

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Currently, airlines including British Airways, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic all require negative Covid-19 tests for passengers traveling from London to New York per an agreement with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Under BA rules, any passenger traveling from Heathrow to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport required to show certified test results taken within 72 hours of departure.

Delta and Virgin Atlantic have similar requirements,

The new requirements, which came into force in December, come as the government put in place a growing number of restrictions on flights following the discovery of a new, faster-spreading strain of the Covid-19 virus.

Last month, Governor Anthony Cuomo said he had worked out agreements with the three airlines but that he would rather see more sweeping federal restrictions.

"The people who now fly into New York will be negative, but we'll have flights into Chicago, we'll have flights into other parts of the country, and then those people can get on flights and come back to New York or infect other states," Cuomo said.

"This whole notion that any one state can protect itself was foolish from the beginning."