Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines have confirmed in a joint statement that they are returning to London Heathrow’s Terminal 3 from July 15th. The airlines said they are looking forward to welcoming customers back onto their ‘home turf’, while calling on the UK and US governments to ease restrictions for non-essential transatlantic travel.
Opening pushed back from June 1st
Airlines and passengers will soon be returning to Heathrow’s Terminal 3, which was shut back in April 2020. Previously intended to reopen on June 1st, the date was pushed back due to ongoing uncertainty and the government’s request that all travelers from ‘red’ countries enter through one terminal. The airport initially intended to use T3 for the task. However, T4 has been fulfilling the purpose over the past few weeks.
Both Virgin Atlantic and Delta have resided in Terminal 2 over the past year, along with fellow T3 residents Emirates and Cathay Pacific. Other carriers, such as American and Japan Airlines, moved to Terminal 5.
“We’re delighted to finally be back on our home turf, and I know our teams can’t wait to warmly welcome our customers to Terminal 3, as they return to the skies in style, as they fly safe and well with Virgin Atlantic,” Corneel Koster, Virgin Atlantic’s Chief Customer and Operating Officer, commented on the news.
Meanwhile, Koster took the opportunity to once more urge the UK government to place the United States on its list of ‘green’ countries, citing the millions of pounds in economic value lost every single day. Furthermore, he called on the Biden administration to again let UK travelers in the country.
One in a million chance of onboard infection
Virgin Atlantic is flying to ‘Green list’ destinations Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, and Israel, which means that travelers do not need to quarantine upon arrival back in the UK. Delta is operating non-stop services between London Heathrow and Atlanta as well as New York-JFK for eligible travelers.
“Moving back to our home in Terminal 3 will allow our customers to once again enjoy the award-winning experience they have missed during the pandemic,” said Nadia Clinton, Delta Air Lines’ regional sales manager.
She also took the opportunity to implore the two countries’ respective governments to allow non-essential travel to resume. Clinton argues that current vaccination rates, air filtration systems, and mask mandates put the risk of catching COVID on a plane between the US and the UK as low as one in one million.
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Lack of transparency for ‘traffic light’
In May this year, Heathrow processed a mere 10% of the passengers from May 2019. Europe’s normally busiest airport continues to struggle and has called for a ‘plan B’ for the aviation sector after what it perceives as a failure of the government to offer transparency into the decision-making process regarding the UK’s ‘traffic light’ system for international travel.