London: A plan to open up air travel between Dubai and London is ready and could be implemented once approved by the respective governments, according to the head of the emirate's airport operator.
Testing and quarantine requirements have been agreed by hubs and airlines, Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. Whether they move forward lies "in the hands of politicians" and how they want to balance economic growth with measures to control the rate of infection, he said.
"It's about time that governments actually recognize what a great job the travel and tourism industry is doing in controlling the spread of the virus," the CEO said. Reviving demand for travel is "an essential part of the kickstart of the global economy."
Negotiations with the UK to enable easier journeys between the two destinations is one of several such conversations Dubai Airports is having, according to Griffiths. Securing final agreements is "the next phase we desperately want to move to," he said.
Loosen the requirements... slightly
Airlines and aviation groups are urging governments to introduce more so-called air corridors to help spur demand, but bilateral agreements have proved difficult to establish as virus flare-ups trigger strict quarantine requirements that put people off travel.
Opening up is crucial for Dubai International Airport, the busiest airport by international traffic before the pandemic, as it relies heavily on connecting passengers around the globe.
Singapore and Hong Kong announced a travel bubble that's expected to start within weeks, while the former has agreed to business travel from several countries including Germany, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea. India has established bubbles with 17 countries.
A travel corridor between London and New York-adjacent Newark is in the works, but is also awaiting the green light from governments, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. A United Airlines Holdings Inc. flight between the two destinations recently carried out the first US trial of a new digital health app designed to share virus test results and help unlock the lucrative transatlantic market.
"I think all it would take is one major corridor to sign up and agree, for there to be a whole lot of confidence from other countries," Griffiths said.