UK aviation officials are scrambling to secure a travel corridor between New York and London following fears Joe Biden could scrap it in favour of one with Dublin when takes office as US president next year.
Plans to establish a corridor between Heathrow and JFK airport – known as Project Nylon – before Biden moves into the White House on January 20 are fading fast, aviation sources told the Evening Standard.
New York to London is one of the busiest intercontinental routes with huge importance for the financial services sectors and other sectors based in either city.
The route has been closed since president Trump banned Britons from flying into America on March 14 and attempts to re-open it in time for Thanksgiving were unsuccessful due to coronavirus.
One source close to the matter told the paper: “We understand that president-elect Joe Biden’s team might look to prioritise a travel corridor to Dublin ahead of us. The feeling is that Biden has a historical relationship with Ireland and that will take precedence.”
Another said: “It’s difficult to see a London corridor up and running until well after the inauguration.”
Fears that Dublin would be prioritised over London came when the boss of Delta Airlines said it would be easier to relaunch transatlantic flights to “just about any other” European capital.
This comes after Downing Street was warned it would “fall down the pecking order” after Brexit if it did not quickly engage with Washington.
Martin Ferguson, a director of American Express Global Business Travel, said: “As we leave the EU, the UK’s need to have established trade links and an air corridor between London and New York seems to be greater than any other country.
“If the government doesn’t move quickly to engage with our partners in Washington, the UK could fall down the pecking order behind its European neighbours. This would not be a good look post-Brexit.”
The US department of transportation said: “The Department stands ready to support the safe resumption of international flights to and from the US. Conversations are ongoing between the federal government, international partners, and industry stakeholders on these matters.”