Skip to content

Airline executives pressure governments to open UK-US corridor at G7 Summit

June 07, 2021
5 min read
Airline executives pressure governments to open UK-US corridor at G7 Summit
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The aviation industry is mounting pressure on the U.S. and U.K. governments to open a long-awaited travel corridor between the two countries. On Monday, a newly configured group of airline and travel group executives including British Airways, American Airlines and Heathrow Airport called for the reopening of transatlantic travel.

The group convened ahead of the G7 Summit, which is set to take place later this week in Cornwall, England. President Joe Biden is expected to attend as well as meet with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Queen Elizabeth.

Sign up to receive the daily TPG newsletter for more travel and airline news!

CEOs of each of the airlines that offer nonstop service between the U.S. and the U.K. — American Airlines' Doug Parker, British Airways' Sean Doyle, Delta Air Lines' Ed Bastian, JetBlue's Robin Hayes, United Airlines' Scott Kirby, Virgin Atlantic's Shai Weiss — as well as Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye and U.S. Travel Association CEO Roger Dow joined forces in support of the corridor.

Related: Business-class battle: The best lie-flats between the US and London

"As President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson meet this week, they must address the transatlantic ban that is separating our two low-risk countries at a major cost to our citizens and economies," British Airways CEO Sean Doyle said in a statement. "We urgently need them to look to the science and base their judgments on a proper risk analysis, allowing us all to benefit from the protection offered by our successful vaccine rollouts."

In general, the group is supportive of both the U.S. reopening its borders to Brits with proof of vaccination, negative COVID-19 test result or recent recovery, as well as the U.K. adding the U.S. to its lowest-category green list. The group called the move "essential to igniting economic recovery," citing "world-leading vaccination programs in both the U.K. and U.S."

British Airways CEO Sean Doyle, John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow Airport and Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss, on a closed runway at Heathrow Airport, West London, which would normally see a plane landing or taking off every 45 seconds. The CEOs are calling for the urgent reopening of transatlantic travel. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)

"As we see people reclaiming their lives and reconnecting with loved ones, it’s clear that the infection rates of our countries indicate an extraordinarily low risk to travel between the U.S. the U.K., provided travelers are vaccinated or can produce a negative PCR test prior to boarding a flight," Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a statement.

Since March 2020, the U.S. has closed its borders to non-nationals who have been in Europe or the United Kingdom in the past 14 days. Since the implementation of that ban, there have been various reports that an air corridor could be in the works, though such a plan has yet to be implemented.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

The U.K. first introduced its green list in early May. At launch, just 12 countries and territories got green categorization, which means that arrivals do not need to quarantine for 10 days. Last week, the U.K. government reviewed the green list for the first time, choosing to move Portugal from green to amber, while at the same time adding no new countries — including the United States — to the green list.

Related: All 11 countries and territories that are on the UK’s green list

"There is no reason for the U.S. to be absent from the U.K. green list," Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss said in a statement. "This overly cautious approach fails to reap the benefits of the successful vaccination programs in both the U.K. and the U.S."

U.K. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said that the government will revisit the green list every three weeks. It will also implement a “watch list” for travelers to know if a country is near a move from one level to another. For example, a “green watchlist” will show if a country is at risk of moving from green to amber.

More than 63% of adults in the U.S. have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while more than 75% of the U.K.'s population have received at least a first dose.

The opening of a travel corridor between the two countries will be important for each of the airlines, but especially for JetBlue, which recently announced its intentions to fly between New York and London for the first time beginning this August.

"The surge in travel in recent weeks has been remarkable as case counts fall and vaccination rates rise and we’re confident that demand for travel between the U.S. and the U.K. would follow a similar recovery pattern with an established travel corridor between the two countries," JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said in a statement. "Data has shown that people can travel safely when certain health and safety protocols remain in place and we believe the U.K. should implement revised border restrictions similar to those that have already been successful in many other countries.”

In May, a group of travel executives wrote to Biden and Johnson, urging them to open a corridor between the two countries. No opening came of that discussion.

Featured image by Bloomberg via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees