Quarantine-free flights planned to US by end of year
zafferana · 27/08/2020 12:34
British travellers could spend Christmas in New York without having to go into quarantine
Passengers could take quarantine-free flights between London and New York before the end of the year under plans for a transatlantic “air bridge”.
The Department for Transport is in talks with its US counterpart over establishing a travel corridor on the route by Christmas, The Times has learnt.
London to New York was the world’s busiest long-haul route before the pandemic, with more than 30 flights a day in each direction.
Since March traffic has been cut to a fraction of normal levels, with the US banning entry to passengers from Britain to control the virus. The UK imposes a two-week quarantine on passengers from the US, which has recorded the most Covid-19 cases in the world.
Yesterday it emerged that the two governments were in early talks to lift the restrictions. It follows the completion of a new testing facility at Heathrow, the busiest airport in Europe, to screen passengers on arrival.
The US is also understood to be in talks with Germany over a travel corridor between Boston and Frankfurt.
Last month the bosses of British Airways, the German carrier Lufthansa and United Airlines and American Airlines, the US carriers, wrote to governments on both sides of the Atlantic pleading for a co-ordinated resumption of long-haul flights.
A travel corridor between London and New York would be seen as a huge boost to trade between the two countries as the UK’s Brexit transition period comes to an end. It will also provide a welcome lift for BA and Virgin Atlantic, which have made hefty job cuts after the collapse of air travel.
Ministers and officials at the transport department are due to meet today to discuss updates to the UK travel corridor policy. It is likely that quarantine measures will be imposed on people arriving from Switzerland after an increase in cases there. Scotland has already imposed the same measures.
Doubts are also growing over the status of Jamaica and the Czech Republic, both on the UK’s travel corridor list at present, after recent outbreaks.
Any changes will compound the chaos faced by holidaymakers after new restrictions were imposed on arrivals to Britain from countries including Spain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Croatia in the past month.
It is understood that any corridor between the US and Britain would be dependent on a system of border tests.
The transport department refused to rule out a US deal, saying that Britain kept the policy under review and would “not add a country to our travel corridor list unless safe to do so”.
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, said: “We urgently need to get connectivity with key destinations going again, and that means a smart testing regime instead of a blanket quarantine, and a move to regional travel corridors, for example between London and New York, the most important aviation route in the world.”
Paul Charles, founder of the PC Agency, a travel consultancy, said: “It is a good sign that these discussions have started and it is a very encouraging signal that long-haul traffic may start before the end of the year.”
notimagain · 27/08/2020 13:05
Thanks for the article..
The testing referred to is very much at the trial stage so it really is fingers crossed..
As the article says the major airlines with exposure to the Long Haul market, both American and European carriers, really need the North Atlantic routes to start opening up.
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