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US and UK-based airlines call for a Transatlantic Green Travel Corridor

Airlines based in the United States and the United Kingdom have joined forces to call for a Green Travel Corridor to be opened between both the countries. The airlines made the call ahead of a meeting of G7 leaders in Cornwall, England, at the weekend.

In today’s world, vaccines have been touted as a way to reopen travel. Two countries which have a significant vaccine population are the US and the UK. However, travel between there 2 countries is largely restrictive.

Pleading for travel corridor

Yesterday, the CEOs of British Airways, United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, JetBlue, Heathrow Airport, Virgin Atlantic and the US Travel Association hosted a virtual meeting during which, the group called on both, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden to make travel between the two countries possible. Both the government leaders are set to meet ahead of the G7 Summit on Thursday.

In the United States, 63.5% of adults have received at least the 1st dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while around half have been fully vaccinated. In the United Kingdom, 76.6% of adults have had one dose of a vaccine, while 52.5% are fully vaccinated.

If we talk in terms of the number of COVID-19 cases, the UK currently has a rate of 38.8 cases per 100,000 people. Meanwhile, in the US, this rate sits at 26.95, according to the latest data from the Centre for Disease Control (CDC).

A very important corridor

The corridor between the two nations is important and precious for parties on both the sides of the Atlantic. According to the meeting of the CEOs, UK businesses are losing £23 million each day as travel between the two countries remain closed.

Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, commented:

There is no reason for the US to be absent from the UK ‘Green’ list… We urge Prime Minister Johnson and President Biden to lead the way in opening the skies, making it a top priority at the G7 Summit.

What will the UK have to do?

Both sides need to take action to enable travel to the other country. As far as the UK is concerned, travellers from the United States presently are required to self-isolate on arrival for 5 to 10 days depending on how many tests they take and, thus, how much money they spend on these tests. A test on day 2 and 8 is mandatory, while an additional day 5 test in order to get out of quarantine s optional.

The CEOs want the US added to the UK government’s green list, meaning that passengers will still need to take a rapid test before departure and a RT-PCR test within 2 days of arrival. However, no quarantine would be required.

This seems like it would be a hard sell to the government, given the current state of the green list. Many recently criticised the UK government for not adding Malta to the green list and removing Portugal with little warning.

What will the US have to do?

The US has arguably stricter rules when it comes to prohibiting travel across the Atlantic. With some exceptions, such as US citizens, those who have recently been in the UK or Europe cannot travel to the country. This is known as the 212(f) order, introduced by President Trump just over a year ago.

British nationals can travel to a third country not affected by the ban for 2 weeks, before traveling onwards to the United States as the prohibition is on where travelers have been recently, as opposed to their nationality. This ban is primarily relevant to when Europe was a hotspot in the early days of COVID-19 and hasn’t been changed by either President Trump or Biden since it was brought in.

Featured image by Reuters

Do you think that a US-UK Green Travel Corridor will open? If so, when do you think will it happen? Let me know in the comments section below.

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