IAG CEO Luis Gallego is calling for action to reopen the opening of the US and UK aviation markets after plans have emerged to create a market opening study working group.
US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson were scheduled to discuss the resumption of transatlantic traffic during today’s talks following the announcement of a working group to “explore options” for the resumption of UK and US air travel.
Speaking today during a panel discussion by the CEO of Airlines at the 2021 European Aviation Summit, Gallego called this step a first step. “But we need action. We used to have task forces, now we need to open the corridor as soon as possible. “
IAG, which operates British Airways, is among airline groups on both sides of the Atlantic in pushing for the lifting of travel restrictions in this key market.
“We see no reason why a corridor between the US and the UK cannot be opened when you see the successful introduction of vaccines in two countries,” Gallego says. “The problem is that the UK is approaching a tipping point and we need to safely resume travel, we need to reset the UK economy, we need to protect jobs. Because if we don’t open this important corridor, it will affect jobs. ”
Speaking in the same panel discussion, Air France-KLM CEO Ben Smith adds that he is optimistic about the progress, not least because one of the carrier’s domestic markets, France, began allowing fully vaccinated visitors from USA is a country with no restrictions.
“Today, if you live in the US, you can come to France, and if you are vaccinated, there are no restrictions, you can enter directly. And if you are a US citizen living in France and want to return to France. ” USA, you are invited.
“We just expect Europeans to be able to do the same. We are looking for reciprocity. But I am optimistic that now we have everything in one direction, should be in another. “
Lufthansa Group CEO Karsten Spohr also expects the market to open soon. “Let’s hope that the US administration will choose July 4, the day they rightfully celebrate themselves, to also invite the world or the Europeans. we [will] prepare the planes by July 5th. “
Gallego adds that he is encouraged by the optimistic view of EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders that an agreement between the EU and the US could be reached in early July, as mentioned in a pre-recorded interview that was also part of the Aviation Summit program.
Reinders highlighted a recent political agreement by EU ministers that, like France, paved the way for EU states to allow fully vaccinated travelers to enter without quarantine restrictions.
“We need to think about the situation at the beginning of summer, not now, but in a month. And of course we will have a higher vaccination rate on both sides.
“We have regulations, this is clear because we have a political agreement. We have a technical solution, a digital tool at the EU and Member State level, and we are starting a discussion with our American colleagues. And it will be possible to hold an EU-US summit in mid-June, because Biden will be in Brussels, and it will be possible to show that we are in a good position. “
Noting that a good situation depends on the absence of negative developments in the fight against the virus, he adds: “I am quite confident that thanks to the vaccination campaign we will have a positive development.”