Airlines Band Together to Request Reopening of Trans-Atlantic Air Corridor

Airlines Band Together to Request Reopening of Trans-Atlantic Air Corridor
Joe Cortez

With more individuals getting COVID-19 vaccines, the airlines are asking for direct guidance for re-opening aviation lanes between the United States and the United Kingdom. Seven carriers joined with Airlines for America signing a letter to transportation officials asking for a safe travel reopening.

International airlines are calling on transportation officials from the United States and the United Kingdom to set a direction to reopen travel between the two countries, as more COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed among the population. The open letter was signed by seven airlines and industry organization Airlines for America, asking for “a path of safely and expeditiously reopen trans-Atlantic travel.”

Reopening Borders “Essential for the Continued Economic Recovery of Both Nations”

In their letter, the leaders from American Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic cite the increase in vaccinations as rationale behind their request. Noting that 42 percent of the adult U.S. population and 27 percent of the U.K. adult population have been fully vaccinated, the carriers say now is the time to set a plan in motion to resume normal air travel operations.

“Public health must guide the reopening of international air travel and we are confident that the aviation industry possesses the right tools, based on data and science, to enable a safe and meaningful restart to transatlantic travel,” the airline leaders write. “U.S. and UK citizens would benefit from the significant testing capability and the successful trials of digital applications to verify health credentials.”

The executives also note that re-opening travel lanes is “essential for the continued economic recovery of both nations.” Citing a report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the combined total of foreign direct investment between the two nations exceeded $1.3 trillion USD. Moreover, flying more passenger flights would expand air freight availability between the United Kingdom and the U.S. In 2019 alone, the group says airlines transported 900,000 tons of air cargo as part of business as usual.

“The return of transatlantic air travel would not only have a significant, positive impact on our respective economies but will also reunite those who have been separated from their loved ones for over a year,” the letter reads. “In 2019, over 22 million passengers travelled between the U.S. and the UK, with approximately four million of those travelers visiting friends and family.”

The letter comes after comments by the European Commission president, which suggested air travel could reopen this summer between the United States and continental Europe. Officials from either country have not publicly responded to the correspondence.

Reopening Borders Could be Arduous Task Without Standardization

Even though the airlines are hopeful they could reopen international travel, opening passenger flights could be difficult without agreeing to certain standards. While the U.S. government says they will not institute a COVID-19 health passport requirement, airlines are still in pursuit of two document standards: The IATA Travel Pass, and the Commons Foundation CommonPass.

View Comments (5)


  1. JG_Aus

    May 13, 2021 at 5:13 am

    If they really want this to work, then they ought to implement a “Certified Vaccinated” program for those who want to fly and ensure that presenting a fraudulent certificate is a felony with both jail time and a lifetime flight ban. Find a way to accurately test ahead of the flight and ensure that there is adequate contact tracing because you still won’t catch them all. The unvaccinated pool in both countries are going to remain a cesspit and breeding ground for new variants for a long time and those of us who want and need to fly should be able to minimize risk.

  2. RaoulM

    May 13, 2021 at 6:59 am

    We are stuck in an endless catch-22: I’ve been trying to book flights to the UK for Christmas and New Year, but there’s nothing on the schedule to book. When I contact United they tell me there is no demand. How would they know that when there are no flights to book? At some point they have to start offering a full schedule and then assess demand from that.

  3. Conan126

    May 13, 2021 at 10:54 am

    US is foolish. What the heck is wrong with a vaccine passport? Last I looked school aged children need to show a “passport” of required vaccines to go to school. And if you don’t want to get the vaccine fine….don’t travel.

  4. mvoight

    May 14, 2021 at 12:53 am

    The problem with “certified vaccinated” programs is how do you prove your document isn’t fault.
    My counties program, doesn’t show me having the 2nd vaccination and they have not even submitted the insurance payment request for either vaccination

  5. CoolTourist

    May 14, 2021 at 3:45 pm

    For what it’s worth everyone who has been vaccinated was issued a card here in the US. The problem is that it can be rather easily forged. Since we do not have a national health system there is no easy way to verify anyone’s medical records.

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