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Covid travel: US reopens borders to fully vaccinated UK travellers



T

he US reopens its borders to fully vaccinated UK visitors on Monday in a significant boost to the travel sector.

Thousands of travellers are jetting off on transatlantic flights for long-awaited reunions with family and friends.

Rival airlines British Airways and Virgin Atlantic will operate a synchronised departure from Heathrow to celebrate the end of the travel ban.

Their aircraft will take off from parallel runways at the west London airport at 8.30am before flying to New York JFK.

In early 2020, the coronavirus pandemic led then-president Donald Trump to ban visitors to the US from dozens of countries such as the UK, Ireland, the 26 Schengen nations in Europe, China, India and South Africa.

Fully vaccinated travellers from those locations will be allowed to enter the US from Monday.

The lifting of the travel ban is vital for the UK’s long-haul airlines, airports and travel firms, which have been hit hard by the virus crisis.

Airlines have ramped up UK-US flight schedules to meet the increased demand for travel.

A total of 3,688 flights are scheduled to operate between the countries this month, according to travel data firm Cirium.

That is up 21 per cent compared with October, but remains 49 per cent down on the pre-pandemic levels of November 2019.

Around 3.8 million British nationals visited the US every year prior to the pandemic, according to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

A survey of 2,000 UK consumers commissioned by travel trade organisation Abta suggested that the US is only behind Spain in the foreign destinations that holidaymakers say they plan to visit.



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