A coalition of commercial aviation industry players has sent a joint letter to President Biden and Prime Minister Johnson. They request that the two leaders use their forthcoming meeting in June to announce a reopening of travel between their two countries. Restoring a bilateral transatlantic corridor would help both economies out of the crisis brought on by the pandemic, the letter’s authors state.
Once the world’s most lucrative stretch of airspace, transatlantic travel between the UK and the US has now been a ghost of its former self for more than a year. As the vaccination programs in the two countries keep rolling out at greater speed than many of their neighbors, the cause could be made for a bilateral corridor between the two.
On Friday, Virgin Atlantic’s CEO said there was no reason not to place the US on the UK’s list of ‘green’ countries when it reopens international travel according to a ‘traffic light’ system on May 17th. A coalition of airlines, unions, airport and travel groups on both sides of the pond have joined their voices to the call.
G7 provides announcement opportunity
President Biden has chosen the UK for his first international visit since taking office. He will attend the G7 meeting in Cornwall, which begins on June 11th. The group has sent a letter to both him and Prime Minister Boris Johnson. They state that the planned meeting between the leaders would be an ideal opportunity to announce the mutual reopening of air travel.
“We are confident that the right tools now exist to enable a safe and meaningful restart to transatlantic travel. Safely reopening borders between the U.S. and U.K. is essential for both countries’ economic recovery from Covid-19,” the letter, signed by 49 industry groups, read as reported by Bloomberg.
Among the signatories are the US Chamber of Commerce, the Global Business Travel Association, Airlines for America, Air Line Pilot Association, Aerospace Industries Association, Association of UK Airlines, Airlines for America, and more.
Onwards to Brussels
After the G7 meeting in the UK, President Biden will travel to Brussels for the NATO and EU summits. The European Union has expressed intentions to let more foreign travelers enter the bloc from next month. On Monday, the Commission issued a proposal to allow entry for fully vaccinated foreign citizens and those from countries with a ‘good epidemiological situation’.
Ursula von der Leyen, the Commission’s President, said it was time to revive the EU’s tourism industry. However, if variants were to emerge, the bloc would reserve the right to activate an ’emergency brake mechanism’.
No federal vaccination database
Late last month, Von der Leyen also said that due to the successful vaccination drive in the US, talks were ongoing to allow inoculated Americans to visit in time for the summer holidays. However, this is granted that they can show proof of vaccination that the EU would accept.
According to Reuters, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki has said that,
“There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.”
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