Flights to the United States have resumed after a 20-month hiatus.

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Flights to the United States have resumed after a 20-month hiatus.

On Monday morning, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic coordinated their first flights to New York, as consumer interest in visiting the United States grows.

The US has reopened its international borders to fully vaccinated arrivals after a 20-month travel ban was imposed on the UK and Europe by then-US President Donald Trump on March 12, 2020.

On Monday morning, rival airlines British Airways and Virgin Atlantic coordinated their first flights of the day, departing Heathrow’s parallel runways shortly after 8.50 a.m. for JFK in New York.

A SAF (sustainable aviation fuel) derived from cooking oil accounts for just over a third of the fuel used on the British Airways flight.

According to the airline, the overall CO2 emissions of the flight are more than 50% lower than those of the now-retired 747 aircraft that previously operated on this route.

Prior to the pandemic, the London-New York routes were among the most profitable in the world, with British Airways earning more than (dollar)1.15 billion between 2018 and 2019, when the two cities had around 600 flights per month.

In general, the United States welcomed nearly five million visitors from the United Kingdom each year.

According to Abta – The Travel Association, nearly one-fifth of those planning a vacation abroad intend to visit the United States in the next 12 months, making it the second most popular vacation destination after Spain.

“The United States is also a destination where people go to study, visit friends and relatives, and do business,” said Mark Tanzer, CEO of Abta – The Travel Association.

The reconnection of the United States and the United Kingdom is an important step in the recovery of international travel.”

JetBlue, the only airline offering New York flights from Gatwick, has launched a no-frills transatlantic service between Gatwick and New York JFK, anticipating a surge in demand. Since Virgin Atlantic moved its flights to Heathrow and Norwegian permanently ceased operations, JetBlue is the only airline offering New York flights from Gatwick.

Return fares start at £330 in May.

According to US regulations, passengers must wear a mask and be fully vaccinated on board the flight.

Non-US citizens must show proof of full vaccination, as well as a negative, in order to board their flight.

UK news summary from Infosurhoy

Flights to the United States have resumed after a 20-month suspension.

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Travel to the US: flights resume after a 20-month ban

Jacob Lewis, reporting from somewhere above the Atlantic on Virgin flight VS3

Heathrow Terminal 3 resembled a Fourth of July parade in full swing when I arrived at sunrise on Monday morning.

Virgin crew members, sporting Statue-of-Liberty headdresses and waving the stars and stripes, welcomed travellers into a bustling check in area that has not been this busy since 2019.

The historic parallel take-off of the NYC-bound planes went smoothly, if a little later than planned, getting airborne at around 9am instead of 8.30am.

Parked on the runway, Virgin’s Captain Robert Lawton announced that we were waiting for BA’s matching-model A350 to pull alongside.

Flight number BA001 (BA had taken the call sign out reserved for Concorde out of retirement especially for the occasion) arrived soon after.

Captain Lawton squeezed the thrust levers, accelerating faster than his partner and we quickly pulled ahead.

BA001 soon caught up, and the A350s climbed side by side in formation before peeling off to their respective flight paths to a round of applause from around the cabin.

Nick Boulos a 38-year-old entrepreneur flying for work described the take-off as “surprisingly emotional”. He added: “For something that we’ve taken for granted for so long – being able to travel freely – to celebrate this milestone in life getting back to normal after Covid was something very special.”

Both airlines are at pains to insist that this is not a race, because, besides anything else, air traffic control decides who lands first. Still, I’m eager to find out who touches down first.

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