British and U.S. authorities are said to be negotiating the possibility of an 'air bridge'—a corridor for quarantine-free travel between two places—for travelers between New York and London.
At present, travelers from the U.S. are banned from nearly all of Europe, including the U.K., which imposes a two-week quarantine on visitors and returning Brits from 'red-zone' areas. But Grant Shapps, the UK Transport Secretary, has raised the possibility of 'regional travel corridors,' which could allow travel from areas where infection rates are low, even if they are in a country where it is high. That could include New York, where the seven-day infection rate is now down to 7, compared with 11.3 for England.
A source quoted by The Telegraph (UK) claims that "There are discussions going on at a very senior level around opening up London and New York. They are at a very early stage, but it is vital to get business going with a major trading partner, especially as we near Brexit."
A similar initiative is reportedly being prepared to link several U.S. cities, including New York, with Frankfurt and Munich. European airlines have been pushing hard for new plans that would rely on testing rather than quarantine and travel bans to allow safe travel, but none are yet in effect.
The 'air bridge' concept developed as European nations started re-opening Europe's internal borders, but at first only between countries with similar rates. The UK in particular has embraced the concept but has found it tricky; after a brief period of rising rates in France and Spain, Britain re-imposed a quarantine, even as thousands of British citizens were abroad and either had to rush back or face isolation. An air bridge with Portugal is still open; it was the last that Britain agreed to, after extensive lobbying by Portugal.