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ALEX BRUMMER: Atlantic Sky Closure Hurts Britain

ALEX BRUMMER: Everyone would be happy if the Secretary of Transportation focused on the damage done to Britain in the world by the closure of the Atlantic sky.

The very idea that travelers returning from Britain’s closest French neighbor must be quarantined for 10 days is at stake. A recent bizarre ruling was based on a beta surge in French Reunion, 6,000 miles away in the Indian Ocean.

Don’t be surprised. Airline travel to Europe’s most popular places is becoming a weird lottery. Mercury-like and incomprehensible decision-making by the transportation sector is a nightmare not only for consumers, but also for airlines.

The chopping and changing limits, the highs of UK-approved exams, and the turmoil faced by passengers at major UK airports are all obstacles to a mild trip.

Rationale: Atlantic travel important to BA and Virgin prosperity and global UK prosperity remains closed

No-frills airlines with European networks, such as Ryanair and easyJet, are back in the air and revenue is starting to flow again. But the same is not true for British long-haul carriers British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. As BA Chairman Sean Doyle warned in the mail, 1.5 million jobs and UK imports and exports are at stake as a global UK stall.

Both BA and Virgin have taken dramatic steps in reducing work, reducing costs and raising new capital to survive the pandemic and stay alive. However, cash is running out as Atlantic travel, which is important for their prosperity and global British prosperity, remains closed. It is not only the fate of these great airlines that is at stake, but also Britain’s trade and services with the United States. The United States is the country’s largest single trading partner. Pre-Covid trade and service exports reached a record £ 106.7 billion in 2019.

The CEO of a large UK publicly traded company, which is expanding rapidly in the United States, told me that the requirements were too complicated to give up a direct flight from Heathrow to New York. Instead, he is currently flying to Eurostar or Charles de Gaulle in Paris, using one of the Air France or American transatlantic airlines.

French Presidents Biden and Macron have agreed to take advantage of Boris Johnson’s hospitality to open a busy aerial corridor that now crosses the Atlantic Ocean at the G7 Summit in June. British Airways spewed studs and cut the future of Virgin Atlantic because the British government was unable to negotiate such a deal for Britain.

Covid-hit BA and Virgin have been denied direct grants or remedies by Whitehall. In contrast, major European airlines Lufthansa and Air France-KLM received billions of euros with government support. Similarly, US aircraft carriers United and Delta have access to relief money from the Donald Trump administration.

BA has long been the carrier of choice across the Atlantic and typically earns 60% of its revenue on this route. BA owner IAG made more than £ 2 billion a year before the pandemic. In 2020, it lost a staggering £ 6.4 billion.

Virgin Atlantic’s latest reports and accounts warn that the company may struggle to continue as a “going concern” after July 2021.

The fate of these two British airlines and the ease of air travel across the transatlantic are weighed down because the British government was unable to grasp the nettle and sign a contract with the United States. Personally, BA executives blame the disability for the incompatibility between Boris Johnson and Joe Biden.

Everyone would be much happier if Secretary of Transportation Grant Shapps reduced the time spent tinkering with complex traffic light rules on holiday routes and focused more on the damage done to Britain around the world by the closure of the Atlantic sky. prize.

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ALEX BRUMMER: Atlantic Sky Closure Hurts Britain

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