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Will the New York – London Air Bridge Actually Happen?

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Reports are circulating about a potential ‘air bridge’ between New York and London, giving eager travelers a glimmer of hope in reuniting with relatives by Thanksgiving… but will it actually happen?

And air bridge or travel corridor could allow for quarantine-free travel (or at least less restricted travel) between the two cities, providing a PCR Covid-19 testing protocol was in place.

nyc airplane

Currently, American tourists are permitted to fly to the UK, as long as they agree to quarantine for 14-days upon arrival. Travel is not possible the other way around, as there is still a travel ban in place for British travelers looking to enter the U.S.

An air bridge could allow travelers to circumvent these bans and restrictions, especially with the busy holiday season approaching. 

heathrow and nyc corridor

This isn’t the first time potential ‘quarantine-free flights’ between London and New York have been in the news. Rumors and whispers of a New York – London air corridor have been popping up for months, unfortunately, with no progress.

jfk airport covid

The New York Post ran a story on air-bridges back on August 27, saying: “An “air bridge” between the Big Apple and Big Ben is being discussed by the US and UK as a possible means for travelers to sidestep quarantine rules amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report.”

The Sun published an article on September 16 titled “New York travel corridor being planned by UK gov as first US air bridge”

jfk airport covid

And Time Out on October 2 wrote: “In a normal year, 5 million tourists visit the USA from the UK and 4.5 million go the other way. Travel between the two countries has been all but impossible since March. But now the British and American governments are said to be in talks to introduce a ‘transatlantic air bridge’ connecting London and New York – meaning that your dream city break (or that all-important family reunion) could be back on the cards.”

empty terminal in JFK airport

Now come mid-October, what actions are actually being taken to solidify the dream of an air bridge between the two cities?

John Holland-Kaye, the CEO of Heathrow airport made a statement in September declaring “We’ve heard from the Prime Minister that he hopes to go to a trial in the second half of October.”, yet no trial date has been defined.

Tourist wearing face mask in front of Big ben in london (1)

Paul Charles from the PC Agency in the UK is a firm believer that pre-flight testing should replace these blanket 14-day quarantines, and fast. While he doesn’t think the government will completely abolish all quarantines completely, he is pushing for them to at least consider shortening quarantine times to 5 days, while the traveler awaits a second PCR test. This kind of double-testing protocol could see the safe return of travel to and from the UK.

However, with both the UK and the USA recording their highest number of active cases to date, and with political tensions surrounding the election, some experts suggest that the air bridge’s potential of coming to life right now is not likely.

Aviation guru Ben Schlappig from One Mile At A Time wrote on the subject saying: “I could be wrong, but personally it seems more likely to me that the US would lift its European travel ban altogether, rather than making an exception for New York. Though frankly neither seem particularly likely to me at this point.”

The UK isn’t the only destination that the US is eyeing up. According to the Standard, The Department of Homeland Security and other US agencies are said discussions also reportedly taking place with Germany to consider a similar type of air bridge scenario. However, if it’s anything like the UK proposal, it might be set on the buck-burner until a later date.

Bridge in london with tourist at sunrise

While many are desperate to see their families over the holidays and have long been separated by love ones due to travel bans, the air bridge would be a wonderful first-step in reconnecting the two continents, but the dream might find itself buried under policies.

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


Monday 12th of October 2020

I disagree with your comments. I believe due to not only the business outlook on this matter but the affect and role the US is going to bring to Brexit. Also, this article says nothing on the fact that one of the main reasons the air bridge is being made is die to Covid testing before and after the flight which will cost the public an extra fee but, for the most part ensures someone isn't infected and reduces quarentine.

There are a lot of points you don't talk about and you only focus on the negatives which initially made me lose a little bit of hope but, do your research guys. I whole heartedly believe that there will be an air bridge in place just before Thanks Giving

Steve Bornstein

Monday 12th of October 2020

Will this London bridge thing happen or will it fall down? I shall ask My Fair Lady.


Monday 12th of October 2020

Wow I would love this, but it seems like there might be some type of family connection required. Wonder if you need a NY residence things like that. Hope not. London is good any time of year. You showed the new cases for the UK and it's huge spike, but active cases for the US. Apples to apples would give a better picture.