Airlines hit hard by Covid-19 sought swifter action to loosen restrictions on travel following pledges from the U.S. and the U.K. to reopen lucrative trans-Atlantic links.
Carriers welcomed an agreement by President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson to create a joint task force to explore options for resuming travel, but are pushing for their administrations to go further than the tentative gesture.
Vaccinated people ought to be able to travel, Luis Gallego, chief executive officer of British Airways parent IAG SA, said in a Bloomberg TV interview. Given progress with rolling out inoculations in both countries, “we don’t see why they have to have restrictions between the U.S. and the U.K.”
The North Atlantic corridor joining the U.S. with Europe is the single most profitable corner of the global aviation market, filled with premium travelers paying extra for first-class and business-class seats. The connection pumps billions of dollars into the British and American economies and supports hundreds of thousands of jobs, according to Drew Crawley, chief commercial officer of American Express Global Business Travel.
“The continued closure of these vital routes for more than 400 days has been detrimental to economic recovery in both countries,” Crawley said.