Chief executives of several U.S. and U.K. airlines are urging the transportation leaders of both countries to conduct a summit exploring how to safely open a transatlantic travel corridor.
In a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and U.K. Transport Secretary Grant Shipps, the executives said the two countries’ vaccine rates—both on track so that all willing adults will have received at least the first dose of a vaccine by the end of July—was the “foundation for the U.K. and the U.S. to lead the world by demonstrating how to safely reopen this crucial air corridor.” As of now, 44.7 percent of the U.S. adult population is fully vaccinated, as is 34.3 percent of the U.K. adult population.
“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 start to transatlantic travel,” the executives wrote. “U.S. and U.K. citizens would benefit from the significant testing capability and the successful trials of digital applications to verify health credentials.”
U.S. visitors to the U.K. currently face a 10-day quarantine, and the U.S. is largely restricting visitors from the U.K.
The letter’s signers included American Airlines CEO Doug Parker, British Airways CEO Sean Doyle, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian, JetBlue Airways CEO Robin Hayes, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby and Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss, representing the largest carriers in both countries with transatlantic service or, in the case of JetBlue, plans to launch it. Airlines for America president and CEO Nicholas Calio also signed the letter.