BA and Virgin Atlantic to depart Heathrow for JFK in dual take-off

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, transatlantic rivals in the airline industry, will celebrate the reopening US-UK nationals with a double take-off from Heathrow to New York.
This show of unity marks the first time since March 16, 2020 that most UK citizens have been able fly to the US.

Today's departures from Heathrow by British Airways flight BA001 and Virgin Atlantic flight VS3 will be at 08.30.

They said that their first ever synchronized take-off was to acknowledge their combined campaigning efforts for the restart of UK-US travel, which had been suspended for more than 600 days.

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In 2019, 22 Million people traveled between the two countries with 900,000. tonnes of cargo.

Today, fully-vaccinated visitors from the UK or EU can enter the US freely and without quarantine. This follows the UK government's decision to allow US vaccinated arrivals into the country without quarantine starting August 2.

British Airways chairman and chief executive Sean Doyle said that today is the right time to celebrate the UK-US opening. To celebrate the vitality of the transatlantic corridor, we are putting aside rivalries and will see British Airways and Virgin Atlantic aircraft take-off together for the first ever time.

The UK's economic recovery depends on transatlantic connectivity. That is why we have been advocating for the safe reopening the UK-US travel corridor since long. Now is the time to be optimistic, get trade and tourism on track, and allow families and friends to reconnect once more.

Shai Weiss (chief executive of Virgin Atlantic) stated that today is a day for celebration and not for rivalry.

We are proud to celebrate today's significant milestone with British Airways. This allows both consumers and businesses to make travel bookings with confidence.

For more than 37 years, the US has been our home and we can't imagine living without it. We have been steadily increasing our flights to popular destinations such as Boston, New York and Los Angeles, and we cannot wait to fly our customers to their favorite US cities to reunite with family and friends.

The reopening and lifting of Presidential Order 212F, which acknowledges both countries' great achievements in implementing successful vaccine programs, is a sign that the UK is on the road to recovery following the pandemic. Through boosting trade and tourism, the UK can now strengthen its ties to America, our most important economic partner.

According to the airlines, they are grateful to the US Biden administration and Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, for removing transatlantic travel barriers.

Grant Shapps (UK's transport secretary) said that this historic event marked a landmark moment in the aviation sector. The heart of UK aviation has always been transatlantic travel. I am delighted to see the flights returning in time for Thanksgiving/Christmas.

The latest Foreign Office travel advice states that fully vaccinated passengers flying to the US from another country must have a Covid-19 test within three days of their departure.

Travellers who aren't fully vaccinated need to be tested no longer than one day prior to travel. They also need to present documentation or a negative result from Covid-19 treatment within the last three months to the airline.

Travel Weekly will be reporting from New York about the US reopening.

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