Airlines

Aviation Leaders Put Pressure on Countries to Open Borders

Aviation Leaders Put Pressure on Countries to Open Borders
Joe Cortez

Airline leaders are no longer waiting for the United States to reopen aviation lines with other countries – they want a clear path to when borders will reopen. Executives and trade groups are leaning on the U.S. to start setting pathways to when aviation channels will resume with both Canada and the United Kingdom.

Aviation leaders want answers from the United States on when air corridors will open with two of their biggest partners: Canada and the United Kingdom. While aviation trade groups are focusing on the North American border, executives are banding together to press government officials to open trans-Atlantic travel.

Organization Leaders and Executives Make Pitches on Opening Air Corridors

Putting pressure on the United States and the United Kingdom are the leaders of all the major airlines flying between the two countries, as well as the head of London Heathrow Airport (LHR). BBC News reports the group issued a statement on Monday, June 7, 2021, requesting that the two countries open an air corridor for passenger travel.

As it stands today, regular travelers cannot fly from the United Kingdom to the U.S., while American flyers must quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in Britain. With vaccination efforts continuing on both sides, airline leaders say its time to drop travel bans in favor of a measured reopening with COVID-19 testing prior to arrival.

“There is no reason for the U.S. to be absent from the U.K. green list,” Shai Weiss, head of Virgin Atlantic, told BBC News. “This overly cautious approach fails to reap the benefits of the successful vaccination programs in both the U.K. and the U.S.”

Closer to home, Airlines for America and the National Airlines Council of Canada. In an open letter to the Canadian ministers of Health, Public Safety and Emergency, and Transport – along with their American counterparts – the two are asking both sides to come together to set a plan to reopening the U.S.-Canadian border.

As vaccination rates increase exponentially in both countries, and provincial governments release their restart plans, now is the time for the federal government to engage immediately with airlines to deliver a clear roadmap and timeline to reopen the air border,” reads the open letter. “We believe this work should be completed and announced before June 21, when the existing Canadian border measures are set to potentially be renewed.”

Since the start of the pandemic, borders have been closed between the two countries to prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus. Canadian officials have not indicated which way they are leaning towards reopening travel in North America.

Pressure to Reopen Comes as Airlines Plan Busy Year

The rising pressure to reopen travel corridors comes as airlines are banking on pent-up international travel demand. In May 2021, JetBlue began selling tickets for their highly anticipated flights between the United States and Heathrow. The new flights are expected to launch by September 2021.

View Comments (2)

2 Comments

  1. sfoeuroflyer

    June 9, 2021 at 8:45 am

    Common sense is a rare commodity these days. For people who are vaccinated, borders should be open, particularly between Europe and the US/Canada and should be open without requirements of PCR tests which are costly. This is all about relative risk and the recognition that bringing risk to zero is a fool’s errand as zero risk does not exist in life.

  2. lwerling

    June 11, 2021 at 8:23 am

    Agreed, there’s little incentive for being or getting vaccinated if you still have to quarantine and provide COVID-19 testing prior to arrival back in the US. I would love to go to Europe, or anywhere outside of the US, but there’s no benefit for having been vaccinated so I will just wait until I can travel freely without restrictions.

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