Top-level American and British officials are reportedly in talks about the possibility of creating a transatlantic “air bridge” that would allow flights between low-risk areas of the U.S. and the United Kingdom (U.K.) that would eliminate the need for travelers to quarantine.
“There are discussions going on at a very senior level around opening up London and New York. They are at a very early stage but it is vital to get business going with a major trading partner especially as we near Brexit,” an undisclosed source told The Telegraph.
It’s thought that, at least initially, the air bridge would be made available only to residents of London and New York City, as well as surrounding areas, where COVID-19 infection rates are relatively low. The aim would be to boost business and leisure travel in two of the world’s most prominent cities whose economies both rely heavily on tourism, as well as international commerce.
Currently, British travelers are still banned from the U.S. under an order issued by the Trump administration back in March. Conversely, U.S. are currently citizens are allowed to enter the United Kingdom, but are required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or risk facing a $1,245 fine, the Daily Mail reported.
Meanwhile, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is also engaging in efforts to safety restore international travel, and encouraging the introduction of air corridors among the world’s top financial centers that can begin repairing the economic devastation brought on by the pandemic.
Even if it does get off the ground, the WTTC’s proposed pilot program for travel between New York and London will require at least two rounds of airport-based COVID-19 testing, which health officials predict could produce as much as an 80-percent success rate in detecting infected travelers.
Of course, the ever-fluctuating rate of new infections in both these cities may delay any such plans from materializing While a few weeks ago, the incidence of new COVID-19 cases in London was 11.3 per 100,000 residents, numbers have since increased to 25 per 100,000 in the greater London area, according to information from The New York Times. NYC’s incidence rate remains much lower, at 3.2 per 100,000 residents.
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