UK Airline Bosses Tell Biden To Lift Travel Ban

( The heads of major travel organizations in both the United States and the UK are urging their respective governmental leaders to loosen restrictions on travel.

At a press conference held Monday, the heads of Virgin and British airlines were joined by executives at Heathrow Airport in London to urge both President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to lift the current travel bans that are in place between the countries.

The executives say the current bans that are still in place are “overly cautious” and should be removed immediately. Travel between the U.S. and UK has been banned for the most part since March 2020.

Residents of the U.S. are currently allowed to travel to the UK. However, to do so, they have to quarantine for 10 days once they arrive and also produce multiple negative COVID-19 tests in that time period. These rules apply whether a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19 or not.

The reverse is even stricter. Residents of Britain can’t travel to the U.S. at all, except in rare occasions where they’d qualify for an exemption.

As of early June, a combined 41% of the population in both countries are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That’s why these executives are saying the ongoing bans are “outdated” and “stuck in time.”

Shai Weiss, the chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, said all travelers from the U.S. should be able to enter the UK without being required to quarantine. He urged the two nations’ leaders to lift the travel restrictions at the G7 summit that will be held next week.

He said:

“There is no reason for the U.S. to be absent from the UK green list. This overly cautious approach fails to reap the benefits of the successful vaccination programs in both the UK and the U.S.

“While transatlantic links with the U.S. are restricted, it’s costing UK economy £23 million each day. We urge Prime Minister Johnson and President Biden to lead the way in opening the skies, making it a top priority at the G7 summit.

“Customers, families and businesses need to book and travel with confidence. After 15 months of restrictions, the time to act is now.”

John Holland-Kaye, the head of Heathrow Airport, emphasized the importance of travel between the U.S. and UK when he said:

“The scientific data shows transatlantic travel and trade can be reopened safely, and every day that policymakers delay puts jobs, livelihoods and the economic chances of hardworking folks across our countries at risk unnecessarily. We cannot continue to keep locked up indefinitely.”

The critique wasn’t only directed at the UK, though. C. Stewart Verdery Jr., the former assistant secretary of Homeland Security, said he appreciates that Biden inherited a “tricky situation.” However, there is no reason why the president can’t re-examine the policies that were in place at the height of the pandemic and adjust them for the current climate.