Finally… it’s lift-off to the US! America eases travel ban for fully vaccinated British tourists as transatlantic travel reopens TODAY
- US ban on British travellers lifted after more than 600 days
- Thousands jetting off to see family and friends in boost for travel sector
- Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said it was a ‘significant moment’
Transatlantic travel finally reopens today as the US ban on British travellers is lifted after more than 600 days.
Thousands are jetting off for long-awaited reunions with family and friends in a significant boost for the travel sector.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic will operate synchronised departures at 8.30am from Heathrow to New York JFK to celebrate the end of the travel ban. In March last year then-president Donald Trump banned visitors to the US from countries including the UK, Ireland, China, India and South Africa due to the pandemic.
Transatlantic travel finally reopens today as the US ban on British travellers is lifted after more than 600 days. Pictured: People wait for a flight in New York City on January 25 this year
Fully vaccinated travellers from those locations will be allowed to enter America from today.
Around 3.8million Britons visited the US every year prior to the pandemic, according to the Foreign Office. President Joe Biden announced in September that America would reopen its border this month.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said it was a ‘significant moment’ as transatlantic travel has ‘long been at the heart of UK aviation’. Air travellers must also provide proof of either a negative test taken no more than three days before travel, or that they have recovered from the virus in the previous three months.
In March last year then-president Donald Trump (pictured) banned visitors to the US from countries including the UK, Ireland, China, India and South Africa due to the pandemic
The lifting of the travel ban is vital for the UK’s long-haul airlines, airports and travel firms, which have been hit hard by the virus crisis.
Airlines have ramped up UK-US flight schedules to meet the increased demand for travel.
A total of 3,688 flights are scheduled to operate between the countries this month, according to travel data firm Cirium.
That is up 2 per cent compared with October, but remains 49 per cent down on the pre-pandemic levels of November 2019.
President Joe Biden (pictured) announced in September that America would reopen its border this month
A survey of 2,000 UK consumers commissioned by travel trade organisation Abta suggested that the US is only behind Spain in the foreign destinations that holidaymakers say they plan to visit.
British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle said the reopening of the US borders was a ‘moment to celebrate’ after ‘more than 600 days of separation’.
He went on: ‘Transatlantic connectivity is vital for the UK’s economic recovery, which is why we’ve been calling for the safe reopening of the UK-US travel corridor for such a long time.
‘We must now look forward with optimism, get trade and tourism back on track and allow friends and families to connect once again.’
His counterpart at Virgin Atlantic, Shai Weiss, said: ‘The US has been our heartland for more than 37 years and we are simply not Virgin without the Atlantic.
‘We’ve been steadily ramping up flying to destinations including Boston, New York, Orlando, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and we can’t wait to fly our customers safely to their favourite US cities to reconnect with loved ones and colleagues.’
A US-UK taskforce was launched in June with the goal of opening up travel.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (pictured) said it was a ‘significant moment’ as transatlantic travel has ‘long been at the heart of UK aviation’