Britain has yet to receive any confirmation over when vaccinated English travellers can visit the US without quarantining, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said today.
The US said it will ease its restrictions around the end of October/early November, but when asked on Sky News if he had a specific date, Shapps replied “I don’t”.
Easier travel between the US, UK and Europe is seen as key to any recovery by British Airways and other flagship airlines.
Shares in BA’s owner IAG edged higher today in spite of the uncertainty about the US position as England slashed the number of countries on its red list.
Only seven countries are now red-listed: Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Venezuela and arrivals from these countries will still be required to quarantine in a hotel for eleven nights at a cost of more than GBP2,000.
Areas with high coronavirus infection rates such as Brazil and South Africa, however, came off the list.
Travellers arriving or returning from these countries will still be required to take a coronavirus test on day two of their return but Shapps said that plans are in train for a cheaper lateral flow test to replace the more expensive lab-based PCR tests by the next half-term holidays for people who have had two jabs.
British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle welcomed today’s development and said: “It finally feels like we are seeing light at the end of a very long tunnel.”
Doyle said though he still wanted a date for US entry to open again and also for all testing to be scrapped for fully vaccinated travellers really to get transatlantic flights going again.
Shares in IAG, which also own Spanish flagship Iberia, rose 0.7% to 178p.