LONDON – Virgin Atlantic is hopeful that it will be able to restart travel between the UK and the US next month, following a long and damaging 18-month hiatus for the carrier.
According to an interview with Travel Weekly, Lee Haslett, the airline’s VP of Global Sales stated that they are ready to operate next month but have no confirmed date as of yet due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Like a lot of people, we’re hopeful for September, but we don’t have a confirmed date so we are focused at the moment on where there are opportunities for us to fly. We are seeing very strong business from the US inbound to the UK”.
Such a restart seems likely given the fact that bookings with the carrier on the US side have spiked 100% week-on-week after the UK Government announced that travelers fully vaccinated in the US would be able to enter the UK without quarantine.
On top of this, bookings from New York’s JFK have jumped 250% following the announcement made earlier this month.
However, there still needs to be a lot of work done, as there is still no reciprocal agreement in place, with the US being off-limits to British citizens since March 2020.
Haslett continued on this theme, calling on such reciprocity:
“It’s essential that that transatlantic travel corridor is allowed to open. We need those restrictions to be lifted. And I think now is the time. Hopefully, as we head into September, that we will start to see that.”
All eyes will be on both Virgin Atlantic and also the U.S and U.K governments to both gauge a potential starting date in September as well as whether such reciprocity will take place shortly.