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British Air Carriers Continue to Pressure Government to Reopen Skies

As borders remain closed between the United States and Great Britain, U.K.-based air carriers are putting increasing pressure on the government to re-establish tourist routes between the two nations once more. Unions say the pandemic has cost airlines 45,000 jobs, with over 860,000 more on the line.

Discontent that the United Kingdom still requires all travelers from the United States to quarantine upon arrival, British airlines are starting to act to open an aviation corridor for tourists. CNBC reports aviation employees will take to Westminster to pressure lawmakers to reopen the skies.

Actions Include Protests, Legal Action Against British Government

The “day of action” will take place on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, with airline employees gathering in Westminster to demonstrate against the regulations. According to the British Air Line Pilots Association (BALPA), U.K.-based carriers have been hurt the most by closures forced by COVID-19.

Data from the labor union suggests arrivals and departures dropped by nearly 75 percent compared to 2019, which was 15 percent more than neighboring European countries. At London Gatwick Airport (LGW) alone, traffic was down by an incredible 92 percent. Their numbers go on to note that 45,000 British aviation jobs were cut over the year due to the pandemic, with over 860,000 more on government support.

“There is no time to hide behind task forces and reviews,” BALPA general secretary Brian Strutton told CNBC. “BALPA is demanding that the UK Government gets its act together and opens the U.S. routes and European holiday travel destinations that it has blocked with no published evidence at all.”

Labor unions aren’t the only ones who plan on taking action against the government. The Financial Times reports Ryanair will partner with Manchester Airports Group to take legal action against the British government, in the hopes they can force borders to re-open once more. They argue that the current “traffic-light system” – which gives a “green,” “yellow,” or “red” indicator as to the safety of traveling to another country – is making it “impossible for airports, airlines and other travel companies to plan for the recovery of international travel or work with the government on future reviews.”

BALPA Action Latest Attempt to Reopen Borders

The BALPA “day of action” is the latest move to attempt to force the government to drop restrictions made during the pandemic to reopen international travel. In May 2021, seven airlines joined with Airlines for America in requesting “a path of safely and expeditiously [reopening] trans-Atlantic travel” from both the British and American governments.