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BA urges UK to take ‘leadership’ in resumption of international travel


The UK should be a global leader in reopening international travel due to its “great progress” in tackling the coronavirus pandemic, according to the boss of British Airways.

Chief executive Sean Doyle urged the Government to “set an example” and “be ambitious” in developing systems which enable people to travel overseas.

This includes the use of digital technology to verify the vaccination and test status of passengers, he explained.

Sean Doyle was appointed chief executive of British Airways in October 2020 (British Airways/PA)

Mr Doyle said the UK can be “very proud” of the creation of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine and the relatively high number of people who have already received a Covid-19 jab compared with other countries.

“We’re making great progress in Britain in dealing with the pandemic,” he told reporters.

“It’s fair to say that Britain has developed a really strong leadership position in coming out the other end of the pandemic.

“What we want to make sure is that we also take that leadership position into restoring travel and restoring the economy.”

He added: “We can be ambitious, and we can pursue this opportunity in a way that others could follow.”

British Airways is trialling the use of a “mobile travel health passport”, produced by VeriFLY, to enable passengers travelling from London to the US to prove they meet US entry requirements before they board a flight.

Mr Doyle, who replaced Alex Cruz as the carrier’s boss in October 2020, warned that the UK will find it “very hard” to reopen for business and investment if travel remains heavily restricted.

It is “pretty obvious that governments and countries want to accept British travellers again”, Mr Doyle said, citing recent announcements from France, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus about easing border restrictions.


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