Airlines urge UK, U.S. to start London-New York passenger testing trial
WASHINGTON, Sept 3- Major airlines want the U.S. and British governments to launch a passenger testing trial for the coronavirus for flights between London and New York to pave the way for a resumption of more international travel. “One of the key steps to recovery is setting up an international pilot program between the U.S. and either Europe, Canada, somewhere in…
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON, Sept 3 (Reuters) – Major airlines want the U.S.and British governments to launch a passenger testing trial forthe coronavirus for flights between London and New York to pavethe way for a resumption of more international travel.
In a letter to government transportation officials seen byReuters, the chief executives of Airlines for America, AirlinesUK, Heathrow Airport and Virgin Atlantic Airways said bothgovernments should “establish passenger testing solutions in airtravel.
“We believe that in the immediate absence of a vaccine,testing of passengers in aviation provides the best and mosteffective frontline defense.”
They urged the governments to establish a testing trialbetween New York and London by month’s end “to gather real worldevidence and data.”
Sharon Pinkerton, senior vice president at Airlines forAmerica, which represents American Airlines Co, DeltaAir Lines, United Airlines and others, toldreporters on Thursday the industry wanted a pilot program tohelp boost international travel.
U.S. international travel has fallen by 87% during thecoronavirus pandemic, which has battered the airline industry.
“One of the key steps to recovery is setting up aninternational pilot program between the U.S. and either Europe,Canada, somewhere in the Pacific,” she said, saying that couldhelp eliminate some of the international quarantines now inplace.
The U.S. Transportation Department said it “stands ready tosupport the safe resumption of international flights between theU.S. and Europe. Conversations are ongoing between the federalgovernment, international partners, and industry stakeholders onthese matters.”
A UK government representative declined to comment on theproposal.
In March, U.S. President Donald Trump barred most non-U.S.citizens who had been in the UK recently from entering theUnited States – restrictions also imposed on travelers in theEuropean Union and China.
Americans can travel to the UK but have been required sincespring to spend two weeks in quarantine on arrival.(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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