VIDEO / British Airways and Virgin Atlantic perform dual take-offs from Heathrow, BA1 and VS3

Transatlantic rivals British Airways and Virgin Atlantic join forces today, November 8th, to celebrate the reopening of the US to UK nationals. For the first time ever, the airlines will come together in a unique show of unity, taking to the skies in a synchronised departure on parallel runways at Heathrow. British Airways flight BA1, a flight number previously reserved for Concorde, and Virgin Atlantic flight VS3, operating on A350 aircraft, have both left London Heathrow for New York JFK at 8.50 AM.

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Reopening the transatlantic travel corridor more than 600 days since the US travel ban was introduced will provide a significant boost for the aviation industry, help both nations’ economic recoveries and re-establish vital business connections. The US is the UK’s largest trading partner, and aviation contributes £23m per day to the UK economy. In 2019, 22 million people travelled between the two countries, along with 900,000 tonnes of cargo.

Today’s change to US entry requirements follows the UK Government’s decision in the summer to lift quarantine restrictions for fully vaccinated US customers when travelling to Britain. With world-leading vaccination programmes in the UK and US, customers on both sides of the Atlantic will finally be able to see loved ones again and explore new and familiar destinations after more than eighteen months of travel restrictions.

GEAR UP! British Airways BA1 and Virgin Atlantic VS3 have just departed Heathrow Airport simultaneously bound for New…

Posted by Aeronews on Monday, November 8, 2021

Sean Doyle, British Airways Chairman and CEO said: “After more than 600 days of separation, today is our moment to celebrate the UK-US reopening. We’re setting aside rivalry and for the first time ever, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic aircraft will be seen taking-off together to mark the vital importance of the transatlantic corridor. Transatlantic connectivity is vital for the UK’s economic recovery, which is why we’ve been calling for the safe reopening of the UK-US travel corridor for such a long time. We must now look forward with optimism, get trade and tourism back on track and allow friends and families to connect once again.”

#BA1 and #VS3 departing Heathrow Airport simultaneously on Monday morning heading to New York JFK. British Airways Virgin AtlanticVideo: Trevor Ward, Sky News live stream.Photos: tower video:

Posted by Aeronews on Monday, November 8, 2021

Shai Weiss, Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive, stated: “Today is a time for celebration, not rivalry.  Together with British Airways we are delighted to mark today’s important milestone, which finally allows consumers and businesses to book travel with confidence. The US has been our heartland for more than 37 years and we are simply not Virgin without the Atlantic. We’ve been steadily ramping up flying to destinations including Boston, New York, Orlando, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and we can’t wait to fly our customers safely to their favourite US cities to reconnect with loved ones and colleagues.”

THE VIEW from Heathrow Airport tower this morning as #BA1 and #VS3 took off simultaneously, heading to New York's JFK airport. Video: NATS British Airways Virgin Atlantic AirbusPhotos:

Posted by Aeronews on Monday, November 8, 2021