Airline CEOs call for easing of trans-Atlantic rules

(SOT - BRITISH AIRWAYS CEO SEAN DOYLE)

"We can set the pace for international travel. You know, two countries, low prevalence of infection, high vaccination rates, lower risk. We've got to go for it."

That's British Airways CEO Sean Doyle pleading on Monday for authorities in the U.S. and the U.K. to come up with a plan to relax international flying rules between the two countries, after more than a year of health restrictions.

"It's been devastating but we have a great opportunity to get back in the air."

Doyle was joined in a virtual press conference by American Airlines CEO Doug Parker, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby and JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes.

The U.S. has had a ban in place since March 2020, barring nearly all non-U.S. citizens who have been in the United Kingdom within the previous 14 days from entering the country. On the flip side, most U.S. travelers visiting the United Kingdom must quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.

Given the high rates of vaccination in the U.S. and the U.K., and rebounding economies on both sides of the Atlantic, airline execs like Doug Parker of American Airlines made the financial case for lifting the restrictions.

"International travel, as we all know, is fundamental to global economic activity. So safely reinstating trans-Atlantic service would send an important signal to the entire world. And the formation of a U.S.-UK travel corridor would re-open the most valuable long-haul travel market for each of our countries, and create significant economic benefits."

The plea to relax health restrictions on trans-Atlantic routes comes ahead of a meeting later this week between President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, on the sidelines of the G7 summit of leading world economies.

(SOT - BRITISH AIRWAYS CEO SEAN DOYLE)

"I think there's much more at stake here than a holiday. It's about trade, it's about visiting friends and relatives. And it's about getting back and doing business and reemploying people."

Domestic travel has started to rebound but global airlines are still hemorrhaging on top of the billions of dollars in losses last year.

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