Despite the British government’s hesitancy to reopen transatlantic routes from the U.K. to the U.S., British Airways and Virgin Atlantic plan to restart flights on May 17.
U.K.’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson had cautioned Britons not to book holiday travel just yet, but the airlines are ready to get back to flying without restrictions.
According to Reuters, these two airlines, which are main competitors for transatlantic flights, are more than confident that with vaccine rollout ramping up in both the U.K. and the U.S. flights will be able to restart safely, and soon.
According to the BBC, over 31 million British residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, making the U.K.’s vaccination program one of the best in the world. The U.S. has also ramped up vaccinations, and a new announcement by President Joe Biden brought the date for when all citizens will be eligible up from May 1 to April 19.
The U.K. has confirmed its use of a traffic light system earlier this week to designate which countries can be traveled to with no restrictions, some restrictions and which cannot be traveled to at all for anything other than non-essential travel. Those on the “green” list can be traveled to without mandatory quarantines, only pre-departure and arrival COVID-19 tests.
Shai Weiss, Virgin Atlantic’s CEO, said, “Within the UK government’s traffic light framework, we have the opportunity to put the UK and US on a ‘green’ basis and get the economy moving again as of May 17.”
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