United, Delta, and American Airlines call for Biden lift restrictions and approve transatlantic travel between the US and UK

Scott Kirby 1   Photo by Chip Somodevilla:Getty Images
United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby.

  • Airline bosses have called for restrictions on US-UK travel to be relaxed in a joint statement.
  • United Airlines and Delta Air Lines are among the six carriers calling for a travel corridor.
  • Airlines have suffered record losses since the start of the pandemic.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Airline bosses have called the opening of a travel corridor between the US and UK amid both countries’ “world-leading vaccination programmes” in a joint statement released Monday.

The chief executives of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and JetBlue joined British carriers Virgin Atlantic, and British Airways in urging President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to lift travel restrictions between the two countries.

The bosses of the US Travel Association and London’s Heathrow Airport also joined the call ahead of the G7 meeting in Cornwall, England this week.

“There is a clear opportunity to safely open up travel between these two low-risk countries,” the statement said.

The group urged the US government to allow fully vaccinated UK travelers, or those who can show a negative COVID-19 test, to enter the country.

The US is on the UK’s “amber list” for travel, meaning that visitors arriving from the US into the country must quarantine for 10 days, and take two COVID-19 tests.

“Experts have encouraged governments, businesses and the public to follow the science,” United CEO Scott Kirby said. “United and other airlines have done that and implemented the necessary safety protocols to re-open key international routes like the air corridor between our two countries. We are ready.”

Airlines posted record losses in 2020 after the pandemic forced them to suspend international travel. American Airlines reported a $8.9 billion annual loss in 2020.

International airlines are expected to lose up to $157 billion across 2020 and 2021, the International Air Transport Association predicted last year.

Many have announced new incentives to encourage people to travel – United offered its MileagePlus passengers a chance to win a year of free flights.

United said last week that it would require all external US-based hires to be vaccinated against COVID-19, following a similar decision by Delta last month.

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United Airlines says it will require all new US-based employees to be vaccinated. Current staff are exempt, but some will receive extra vacation if they get jabbed

FILE PHOTO: United Airlines president Scott Kirby speaks before the departure of the "Flight for the Planet", the most eco-friendly commercial flight in history of aviation, according to the airline, from O'Hare International Airport to Los Angeles, in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., June 5, 2019. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby

  • United Airlines will require all new US-based staff to be vaccinated, an internal memo said.
  • United will not require current staff to get vaccinated, but has offered incentives.
  • Delta Air Lines said last month it would mandate COVID-19 vaccines for new hires.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

United Airlines has said it will mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all new external hires, the company said in an internal memo shared with Insider.

All new employees receiving job offers after June 15 will be asked to show proof that they are fully vaccinated, United said in the memo.

“As we welcome new employees to the company, it’s important we instill in them United’s strong commitment to safety,” the memo said. “They will be required to upload their COVID vaccine card in My Info no later than 7 days post hire date.”

The airline said the new rule applies only to US-based hires, with an exemption for internationally-based staff. “Reasonable accommodation” will be given to hires who are not vaccinated on medical or religious grounds, per the memo.

The airline will not require current employees to get jabbed, but will strongly encourage it by offering incentives. Last week, United said it would give vaccinated flight attendants up to three additional days of vacation, according to a letter shared by the Association of Flight Attendants.

United has also offered its MileagePlus passengers the chance to win a year of free flights if they can show they’re vaccinated.

In January, United CEO Scott Kirby said he wanted to make vaccines mandatory, and encouraged other companies to to the same.

United follow Delta Air Lines which last month last month announced that it would require all new employees to be vaccinated, and may bar current staff from working on international flights if they refuse to get the jab.

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