Virgin Atlantic and Heathrow airport chief executives want to establish a UK-US travel corridor by next month. Aviation executives want UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to restart transatlantic flying once borders are open. Virgin Atlantic chief executive Shai Weiss said that “there is a great opportunity here to focus on the corridor between the US and the UK”.
UK-US Travel Corridor?
Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined plans to cautiously resume international travel. This will include a system that grades different destinations. The grading system will judge destinations according to their vaccine rollout, COVID19 infection rates, and the prevalence of different variants.
The travel industry is pushing to include the US on the “green list”. This means that travelers from the US will not have to quarantine, though they have to take COVID19 tests before departure and after arrival.
The aviation executives wrote to Johnson warning him that expensive testing requirements can ward off travelers. EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren suggests the use of lateral flow tests instead of expensive PCR tests.
Johnson replied, “we’re going to see what we can do to make things as flexible and as affordable as possible”.
Too Early to Book
Johnson thinks that it is still too early to book a foreign holiday. The UK still banned non-essential international flights until May 17. However, this can still be extended depending on the situation.
Also, the US should play a role to make the UK-US travel corridor possible. Right now, UK passengers are still not allowed in the US. This ban was made during Trump’s administration and still stands today.
Both US and UK have rolled out vaccines at an outstanding pace. The UK has already administered 55.2 vaccine doses per 100 residents while the US is at 49.8.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also updated its stance on fully vaccinated individuals. It says that they can now travel with very low risk. In 2019, there were 22 million passengers that traveled between the US and UK.