Airlines urge government to safely reopen transatlantic travel

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Six U.S. and UK passenger airline CEOs and Airlines for America recently sent a letter to Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Department of Transportation secretary, and Grant Shapps, UK Transport secretary, encouraging safe and expeditious reopening of transatlantic travel.

The executives propose a summit with the secretaries before the G7 Summit to explore ways to achieve this goal while aligning with public health objectives but cautioned that the industry needs adequate lead time to create plans for restarting air services. Plans would include marketing, selling tickets, and scheduling aircraft and crews.

“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 restart to transatlantic travel,” the letter said. “U.S. and UK citizens would benefit from the significant testing capability and the successful trials of digital applications to verify health credentials.”

Reopening borders between the United States and the UK will benefit both nations, the executives said.

In 2019, $273 billion in trade was conducted, including 900,000 tons of air cargo. U.S. foreign direct investment in the UK totaled $851 billion, and UK foreign direct investment in the U.S. was approximately $500 billion, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.