British Airways and Virgin Atlantic celebrate US border changes, performing simultaneous take-off



In a rare display of unity, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are to celebrate the changes in U.S. border entry requirements, with two planes taking off simultaneously from London Heathrow Airport.

When two airlines team up – Image, British Airways / Virgin Atlantic.

In recognition of a long-standing campaign and a pivotal moment for the travel industry, for the first time ever, airlines will come together in a demonstration of one-of-a-kind, soaring through the skies during a synchronized departure on parallel tracks at Heathrow..

British Airways flight BA001, a flight number previously reserved for the Concorde and the London City Shuttle, and Virgin Atlantic flight VS3, will both leave London Heathrow for New York JFK at 8:30 am on Monday 8 November.

Both flights will operate Airbus A350s during this relaunch.

The reopening of the Transatlantic Travel Corridor is celebrated more than 600 days after the introduction of the United States travel ban on March 16, 2020.

Today’s change to US entry requirements follows the UK government’s decision this summer to lift quarantine restrictions for fully vaccinated US customers when traveling to Britain. With in-flight vaccination programs for the UK and US, customers on both sides of the Atlantic will finally be able to see loved ones again and explore new and familiar destinations after more than eighteen months of travel restrictions .

In quotes

British Airways Chairman and CEO Sean Doyle said:

“After more than 600 days of separation, today is the time to celebrate the reopening between the United Kingdom and the United States. We put the rivalry aside and for the first time, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic planes will take off together to mark the vital importance of the transatlantic corridor.

“Transatlantic connectivity is vital to the UK’s economic recovery, which is why we have been calling for the safe reopening of the UK-US travel corridor for so long. Now we need to look to the future with optimism, get trade and tourism back on track, and allow friends and families to connect again. “

Shai Weiss, Managing Director of Virgin Atlantic, said:

“Today is a time of celebration, not of rivalry. Together with British Airways, we are delighted to mark today’s milestone, which finally allows consumers and businesses to book travel with confidence. The United States has been our heart for over 37 years, and we are just not virgins without the Atlantic. We have gradually increased our flights to destinations such as Boston, New York, Orlando, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and we look forward to transporting our customers safely to their favorite US cities to reconnect with loved ones and colleagues.

“As the UK recovers from the pandemic, the reopening of the Transatlantic Corridor and the lifting of Presidential Order 212F recognize the great strides both countries have made in rolling out successful vaccination programs. The UK will now be able to strengthen its ties with our most important economic partner, the United States, by boosting trade and tourism. We thank Prime Minister Johnson and the UK government, the Biden administration and our industry partners for their support in removing these barriers and resuming free travel between our countries. “

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

“This historic event marks an important moment for the aviation industry. Transatlantic travel has long been at the heart of British aviation and I am delighted to see flights return in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“Through the work of industry and the US-UK Expert Working Group, these vitally important flight routes will help boost Britain’s economy, protect and create jobs and, through the work of Jet Zero Council, to be rebuilt in a greener way. “

Bury the hatchet … for about 30 minutes

We are flying flags all over the world flying the flags for you ... Image – British Airways / Virgin Atlantic

For both airlines, reopening a major border like the United States is a big step forward – not just to reconnect those who need to travel (whether for tourism, business or family matters) , but also the reopening of the main sources of income for these airlines, the two airlines having a substantial part of their long-haul networks in the United States.

And the two will fight for customers – whether it’s an airline or an airline or an alliance against an alliance.

Other airlines will also look to boost connectivity, with reports that some airlines have run out of capacity on the routes.

But for a few minutes tomorrow, the two airlines will line up on 27R and 27L, simultaneously taking off to reconnect transatlantic links in a show of unity and a sign that transatlantic travel is back for all travelers who can meet the requirements. entry into the United States. .

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