Bowing to pressure from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, three airlines will require all passengers traveling from the UK to New York to present a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding.
Three Airlines Add COVID-19 Test Requirement To UK – New York Flights
Governor Cuomo is concerned about the new strain of coronavirus that some fear is spreading rapidly through the United Kingdom. Cuomo remarked:
“The strain is so serious that the U.K. has closed down again. We are on notice about it. Why don’t we act intelligently for a change? Why don’t we mandate testing before people get on the flight, or hold the flights from the UK now? Many other countries have done this.”
Cuomo made the unusual step of appealing directly to airlines offering service between New York and the United Kingdom and asking that they treat New York as 120 other nations treat the UK, with negative PCR COVID-19 tests required ahead of departure.
Starting tomorrow @British_Airways will require passengers on UK flights to NY to show a negative COVID test before departure.
We are in conversations with Delta and Virgin Atlantic to do the same.
We can’t let history repeat itself with this new virus variant.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) December 21, 2020
British Airways was first to agree and will start mandating the negative test results on flights starting today.
Delta and Virgin Atlantic, joint-venture partners, will require negative tests starting on Christmas Eve:
“Delta, along with our partner Virgin Atlantic, will be requiring new pre-departure COVID-19 testing for all our customers traveling from the U.K to the United States effective Thursday December, 24. Customers will be required to take a LAMP or PCR test up to 72 hours prior to departure adding another layer of safety when they travel.”
United Airlines will not participate, but only serves Newark Liberty in New Jersey from London Heathrow.
The move marks an unprecedented exercise of power from the New York Governor. While British Airways, Delta, and Virgin Atlantic had no legal obligation to agree, their capitulation the governor likely was the path of least resistance in light of uncertainty over transmission of the virus on both sides of the pond.
image: Virgin Atlantic