Heathrow airport has once again called for the government’s “green list” to be extended later this week, stating that failure to do so will see the UK “missing out on a multi-billion-pound economic boost”.

The airport cites new research from the Centre for  Economics and Business Research (CEBR), which shows that travellers passing through Heathrow account for over £16 billion spent across the UK.

Nearly a quarter of this figure (£3.74 billion) comes from US visitors travelling through Heathrow, which the airport said “highlights the urgent need to restore the UK’s transatlantic routes – by adding the US to the green list at the earliest opportunity”.

The UK government is due to review the current “green list” (which allows arrivals from certain destinations to enter without quarantining) on June 7, and Heathrow said that its recent announcement regarding a dedicated “red list” arrivals facility at the airport meant that it now had “additional capacity for arrivals from an expanded green list”.

Heathrow said that if the US is not added to the green list “there’s a risk that these US visitors could go elsewhere”.

“Italy has opened its doors to fully vaccinated American travellers, and France is preparing to follow suit,” said the airport. “If EU countries continue to move quickly and more efficiently to restore their US links, then the UK could end up giving these economic opportunities away to the EU, just as the Government is supposed to be laying the groundwork for its Global Britain ambitions.”

The CEOs of British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Heathrow recently called for the full opening of transatlantic routes, with BA’s boss Sean Doyle stating that “Not opening up the UK economy [to the US] is costing the UK about £32 million per day”.

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic push for the opening of transatlantic routes

Meanwhile IATA’s new director general Willie Walsh echoed these calls, stating that “Given the pace of vaccination roll out that has taken place in the US, and in the UK, it should give people reason to be optimistic about transatlantic travel between the UK and US starting in a safe manner in the near future”.

Commenting on the news Heathrow’s CEO, John Holland-Kaye, said:

“This research shows just how many businesses across the UK are losing out because of the Government’s restrictions on access to overseas visitors and markets. The Government has the tools to protect both public health and the economy and Ministers must unlock more low risk destinations across Europe, as well as the US, as part of the next review on June 7.”

heathrow.com, cebr.com