British Airways CEO calls for US to be added to UK’s green travel list

·2 min read
An aerial view of Manhattan, New York (Getty Images)
An aerial view of Manhattan, New York (Getty Images)

The CEO of British Airways has said the US should be added to the UK’s travel green list as they are “vaccinating at pace”.

Speaking from Heathrow Airport this morning, he told BBC Breakfast that the airline has received “an awful lot of interest” from passengers wishing to book trips to reunite with friends and family members on the other side of the Atlantic.

He said: “There’s a human cost to this, in that a lot of people have been separated from friends and family for over 12 months now.

“The US has vaccinated 59 per cent of all adults, and infections are falling, so we’d be very optimistic about the United States.

“And if we look at places like Germany and you look at France, again they’re making great progress, as is Europe.

“So we think Europe and the US certainly should be in scope for inclusion in the green list as we see the trends on vaccination and prevalence.”

His comments follow similar pleas from other senior figures within the travel sector to expand the handful of countries currently on the UK’s travel green list.

EasyJet chief executive, Johan Lundgren, said: “The latest data suggests that most of Europe could actually already from right now go on to that green list of categories.”

And earlier this month, a group of airlines, airports and business groups from both sides of the Atlantic called for the full reopening of air travel between the US and UK “as soon as safely possible”.

But Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of The Wellcome Trust charity, warned there “is a risk” that the Indian-variant of Covid-19 could be transmitted by people travelling out of the UK.

“I think travel should still be very cautious and only when absolutely essential,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

The news comes as international leisure travel is finally legal again in England.

From today, 17 May, jetting off on a foreign holiday is possible under a traffic light system, with countries classified as green, amber or red and prescribed restrictions to match based on the risk of arrivals importing new Covid-19 infections.

Although holidays are no longer prohibited, there are still myriad hoops travellers must jump through, including pre-departure and post-arrival coronavirus tests taken within a certain timeframe.

The government is currently advising that Brits should not be visiting amber or red countries for recreational purposes, however.

Speaking on Times Radio, health secretary Matt Hancock warned that destinations on the amber list, such as Spain, Italy, France and Greece, are “places that you shouldn’t go to unless you have an absolutely compelling reason.”

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