Photo: London Bridge, United Kingdom (Photo via Getty Images)
RICH THOMASELLI NOVEMBER 16, 2020
Is this the future of flying, at least for the time being in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic?
On Tuesday, Nov. 17, United Airlines will fly from Newark-Liberty International Airport to London’s Heathrow International Airport with a flight that is completely COVID-19 free.
How do we know that?
Simple – as part of a new pilot program, all passengers and crew on board will have been tested for the virus at the airport immediately before they fly, and only travelers with negative results will be allowed to travel according to Forbes.
It’s a bold plan to reopen a travel corridor between the two international cities even as COVID-19 appears to be strengthening again as the weather turns colder.
According to United, who released a statement to Forbes, “From November 16 through December 11, the airline will offer rapid tests to every passenger over 2 years old and crew members on board select flights from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to London Heathrow (LHR), free of charge. Anyone who does not wish to be tested will be placed on another flight, guaranteeing everyone on board other than children under two will have tested negative before departure."
The travel corridor is important, as the route between New York and London is one of the most traveled in the U.S. – and one of the most lucrative. Forbes quoted a leading aviation industry company which calculated an 85 percent decrease in the number of travelers this winter, a loss of approximately 32 million pounds, or $42.2 million US dollars.
That prompted Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye to call the report’s findings “a stark warning that action is needed immediately to safely open up connections with our key trading partners in the US.”
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