UK and US to Announce Plans to Reopen Travel Corridor
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the United Kingdom and the United States have banned non-essential travel. This has left families unable to meet, economic hardship for airlines, and the travel industry reeling.
According to reports, the leaders of both nations, President Biden and Prime Minister Johnson, met before the annual Group of Seven (G7) meeting and agreed in principle to a wide-ranging “Atlantic Charter” that would open the U.S.-UK air travel corridor. This, after US and UK airlines joined forces to push for the opening of a travel corridor between both countries.
Both leaders are expected to announce their reopening plans, as well as unveil a joint task force with the goal of reopening travel between the two nations as soon as possible now that COVID-19 vaccines have brought the number of cases down.
Grant Shapps MP, the British Secretary of State for Transport, stated on Twitter:
While nothing firm has been announced, both leaders are set to discuss reopening UK-US travel as soon as possible. Commenting ahead of the meeting, Boris Johnson said, “The agreements President Biden and I will make today… will form the foundation of a sustainable global recovery.”
Travel Industry’s Reaction
While news of a dedicated UK/US taskforce will undoubtedly provide some relief to the travel sector, industry leaders are calling for clarity on possible dates for reopening transatlantic travel as the travel sector continues to suffer after more than a year of disruption.
Virgin Atlantic chief executive Shai Weiss described the creation of a taskforce as “a first step towards reopening the skies”.
However, Mr Weiss warned that the “absence of a definitive timeframe” means airlines, businesses and consumers have not been given “much-needed clarity” during this time of uncertainty.
Current State of Travel
As of now, most US travellers are required to be quarantined for 10 days upon arrival in the UK, and the US continues to prohibit travellers from the UK to enter as part of its wider international travel ban.
Business leaders in the travel industry have urged both the UK and US government to work toward lifting restrictions so that transatlantic travel may resume. However, even with travel officials on both sides of the Atlantic pushing for a US-UK travel corridor, the US CDC still lists the UK. at a Level 3, “high” risk category.
There are also still concerns as the Delta variant of COVID-19 has contributed to a fresh outbreak in the UK.
Still, the potential for fully reopened borders between the US and the UK is an exciting prospect as more people get fully vaccinated and families are hoping to reunite sooner rather than later.
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