“Air bridges” and “travel bubbles” have become big things in travel. Simply put, countries that have similar percentages of COVID-19 cases make deals with other countries that allow their respective residents to travel between the two without quarantine. New Zealand has tentative plans to eventually establish travel bubbles with some neighboring countries. Japan is also considering such air bridges with a few places, including part of the United States.
Both the New Zealand and Japan-U.S. plans are on hold while virus numbers, which had been low but then went up, decrease. However, there are currently new talks between the United States and the United Kingdom to allow a travel bubble between New York and London.
Right now, travelers from the U.S. who arrive in the U.K. are required to quarantine for 2 weeks. Those in the U.K. who want to travel to the U.S. can only do so under very specialized circumstances.
However if there was an air bridge between New York (its 7-day infection rate is 7.2 per 100,000) and London (the UK’s average rate is 11.3 per 100k), business and other travelers could go back and forth between the two without quarantine.
“There are discussions going on at a very senior level around opening up London and New York. They are at a very early stage but it is vital to get business going with a major trading partner especially as we [the U.K.] near Brexit,” a source told the Telegraph.
This air bridge would require much planning before it started. It would also undoubtedly include the introduction of testing at airports. Although some countries such as Iceland and Germany already have that in place, neither NYC nor the U.K. has yet established airport-based COVID testing for passengers (although JFK has had testing available since July, it’s not meant for passengers), so that would need to get put into place.
The Telegraph also reports that a German aviation industry group is also planning a joint project with the U.S. so they could link airports in Frankfurt and Munich with those in New York, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles.
“New York is the financial center of the most powerful economic force in the world so we need to be able to fly there,” said a representative from the group.
No time frames for any of these airbridges have been announced.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary