America’s presidential ban on arrivals from the UK could remain in place for another two or three months, a leading airline boss has said.
Since March 2020, the US has been off limits to non-Americans who were “physically present” in the UK “during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States”.
Despite the prohibition, and the consequent collapse in transatlantic air travel, the New York-based airline jetBlue is launching a new route from JFK airport to London Heathrow on Wednesday 11 August.
The carrier’s chief executive, Robin Hayes, told BBC Today: “We’ve made our views very clear to the administration here that the current approach is not risk based.
“In fact flights are allowed from countries that have a lot higher levels of Covid transmission than countries in Europe. It really doesn’t make any sense.
“We are hopeful over the next two or three months, as we get on the right side of the Delta variant increases we have seen, we can revisit that and we can welcome Brits and Europeans to the States again.”
The data analyst Tim White tweeted that the US is reporting over 100,000 new cases of Covid-19 daily, with 69,000 sufferers now hospitalised.
“The seven-day infection rate is now almost 250/100k,” he said.
The UK’s current rate for new infections is about 10 per cent higher.
Last week the UK eased rules for arriving Americans, with fully vaccinated arrivals from the US no longer needing to self-isolate on arrival.
Mr Hayes, a former British Airways executive, said: “We’ve actually seen, since the UK removed the quarantine restrictions from the amber list, daily new bookings almost trebled.
“The industry in the US is doing extremely well.”
Two further months of the travel ban would extend to the second week of October, while a three-month continuation would take the ban to a total of 20 months.