US holidays: Grant Shapps confirms Transatlantic Taskforce to aid reopening travel | Travel News | Travel
Following President Joe Biden’s arrival in Cornwall this morning for the G7 summit in Cornwall, the UK has announced plans to begin working on resuming travel with the US. Secretary of State for Transport broke the news with a tweet.
Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan has said he does not anticipate any “specific announcements” to be made in the coming days.
He told reporters: “I don’t think the working groups will finish their work by the time the trip is through so we’re not currently anticipating any specific announcements.”
The US is also expected to launch a similar Taskforce-style group with the European Union (EU).
“The point of these working groups is to share data and set out both milestones and criteria to enable a reopening of travel between our two countries as swiftly as possible, consistent with public health guidance,” added Mr Sullivan.
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However, airline bosses have said the action is not being taken swiftly enough.
Shai Weiss, CEO, Virgin Atlantic said: “The creation of the Atlantic Taskforce is positive recognition of the importance of the UK-US travel corridor and a first step towards reopening the skies.
“But in the absence of a definitive time frame, again falls short of providing airlines, businesses and consumers with much-needed certainty.
“We urge Prime Minister Johnson and President Biden to use the G7 Summit to move the US to the UK’s ‘green list’ and repeal the 212F proclamation for UK travellers to the US immediately, and no later than the July 4.
“World-leading vaccination programmes in both the UK and US have created the opportunity to safely open up travel between these two low-risk countries whilst protecting public health.
“Vaccinated travellers to and from the UK should be free from testing and quarantine, consistent with the approach taken by the US and the EU enabling trade, travel and free movement to resume.
“Restrictions on transatlantic travel are costing the UK £23 million each day and, despite one of the highest vaccination rates globally, the UK is now falling behind the EU’s reopening.
“For Global Britain to be seen as the best place to do business, visit and invest, UK Government must act immediately to safely reopen the skies.”
Senior Labour MP Ben Bradshaw posed a gloomy outlook.
In a tweet, he commented: “If this is anything like your existing travel ‘taskforce’, Grant Shapps, which has resulted in British people having fewer travel freedoms than Americans or fellow Europeans and fewer than we did last summer, I wouldn’t recommend anyone gets their hopes up.”
While the idea of vaccine passports has been floated, particularly between the US and EU, there is no definitive confirmation as to whether these will be used.
The US closed its borders to UK arrivals in March 2020.
Since then only those with specific reasons for travel, including residency or study permits, have been allowed to enter the country.