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Without US-UK Airbridge, British Economy Loses Over $40 Million Daily

Without US-UK Airbridge, British Economy Loses Over $40 Million Daily
Joe Cortez

A report collectively commissioned by three British aviation stakeholders say the island nation’s economy is taking a major hit because there is no airbridge between the United States and the United Kingdom. Without regular air service between the two nations, the study suggests the British economy is losing over $40 million daily.

A new study commissioned by Airlines UK, International Airlines Group and Collinson suggests the British economy is greatly suffering because of a lack of regular air service between the United Kingdom and the United States. In a press release, the trade group estimated the total daily loss to be upward of $40.79 million (£32 million GBP) daily by the start of October 2020.

“This is a stark warning that action is needed immediately”

Infographic courtesy: Airlines UK

According to the calculations in the study, the closed borders between both the U.S. and Great Britain is causing a significant financial hardship for the nation. From the lack of travel and tourism alone, the British GDP could drop by around $14 billion (£11 billion GBP), with a significant amount of that figure coming by the fourth quarter.

This loss comes from closed borders on both sides, along with a complete lack of air operations. According to the study, published seat capacity is down by 85 percent, with the financial boost from the summer tourist months completely lost.

But tourism isn’t the only air connection to hurt the economy. The study also notes that the U.K. could lose up to $153 billion (£121 billion GBP) in exports to the United States, and over $500 billion (£417 billion GBP) in foreign direct investment.

“This is a stark warning that action is needed immediately to safely open up connections with our key trading partners in the US,” John Holland Kaye, chief executive of London Heathrow Airport (LHR) said in a statement. “PCR testing in private labs, both pre-flight and on arrival, would ensure that there is no risk of importing COVID and could pave the way to a Common International Standard for aviation testing.”

If nothing happens, the leaders of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic say both jobs and the greater economy could be at risk. While British Airways has grounded their Boeing 747 fleet and sold artwork to boost their balance sheet, Virgin Atlantic has taken a private bailout package and announced 1,000 layoffs to keep afloat.

Frustration Grows Over 14-Day Quarantine Requirement

The report is the latest attack from a growing list of Britons who are demanding the government do something to alleviate the 14-day quarantine for arriving passengers from the United Kingdom, and open borders once more. Airlines, British parliamentarians and Airlines for Europe have all demanded the government consider either pre-flight or on-arrival testing as an option to open up lanes between the two nations.

In addition, Sir Richard Branson – founder of Virgin Group – is reportedly one of those who are frustrated. In a call with the British health secretary Matt Hancock, The Telegraph reports Branson “lashed out” at the lack of arrival testing, with some calling the comments “forthright.”

View Comments (2)


  1. DaveS

    September 24, 2020 at 4:21 am

    These travel restrictions are doing far too much damage for the perceived benefit. It is clear here in the UK that COVID cases are still out of control with the restrictions in place. we are going to need the money that travel brings in to recover from the mess that has been created. We need to be able to travel everywhere, not just the US. Though I understand how critical the US is for Virgin and BA.

  2. UncleDude

    September 25, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    The Air Bridge is still virtually 100% in place, with Thousands of seats every day via the AA/BA hubs to over 120 Cities in USA. The main problem is shortage of customers. I flew LHR-DFW last week with only 14 on board a 787.

    Oh and the appalling First Class Catering. If IAG’s Aer Lingus can offer Choice of Full Meals. Selection of Wines in Business Class why cant BA in Premium Classes?

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