Prospect backs calls for UK-USA air bridge – safe travel needed to support vital jobs and skills

29 October 2020

Prospect, a leading union for the aviation sector, has supported industry calls for a UK-USA air bridge supported by testing to reopen safe travel between the UK and New York.

A scheme has been suggested by Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye which would see travellers tested on both sides of the Atlantic. As the UK’s global hub airport, Heathrow is particularly reliant on flights to the USA, especially on the flagship New York to London route.

Staff represented by Prospect at Heathrow are highly skilled, and risk being lost to the industry, something that will seriously hamper recovery in future. They currently face drastic reductions in pay because of the crisis. Prospect is calling on governments on both sides of the Atlantic to engage with unions, and industry to reopen routes in a safe way based on testing.

As well as supporting business travel, an expansion of safe travel could also allow for family visits for Thanksgiving on 26 November.

The UK government established a Global Travel Taskforce on 7 October with an aim of reporting to the Prime Minister no later than early November. It is unknown whether this taskforce has met, the deadline will be met or whether it has engaged with officials in key overseas destinations like New York.

John Stevenson, Prospect Negotiations Officer, said:

“The aviation sector is in a deep crisis. It has been one of the UK’s success stories in recent years, supporting thousands of skilled, decent paid jobs right across the country.

“The industry is investing time and money in working out how more travel can be enabled through testing. The proposals being put forward by Heathrow are a serious and credible way forward.

“But the government’s taskforce has so seemingly failed to engage in a serious way.

“Politicians in the UK and USA must not let next week’s US elections distract them from the very urgent task of authorising the safe reopening of key routes.”


Prospect has members working in aviation, road, rail and maritime transportation, as well as regulation and research.