The aviation industry is facing a race against time to set up a travel corridor between London and New York amid fears that President-elect Joe Biden will favour an air link with Dublin instead.
There had been hopes that a quarantine-free corridor between London and New York would be in place by Thanksgivings, but these have proved misplaced.
Instead, officials are now reportedly rushing to get a travel corridor in place before Donald Trump leaves office on 20 January.
Sources told the Evening Standard that the industry was concerned that the new President’s team might prioritise Dublin over London.
Biden’s affinity with Ireland, to which he has a family connection, is no secret.
Others warned that the UK was among the hardest of European countries with which to set up a travel corridor.
The London to New York air route is one of the most lucrative in world aviation and is vital for business links between the two countries.
However, it has been effectively closed since March 14 under an executive order banning entry into the US unless in exceptional circumstances.
In recent weeks carriers have been trialling coronavirus testing regimes in a bid to get around existing restrictions.
United Airlines is currently running a trial programme offering Covid tests to passengers flying from Newark in New Jersey to London.
The development comes as the UK prepares to ease its 14 day quarantine regime on 15 December.
It will be replaced by a new “test to release” system which will see travellers who wish to take a private test on the fifth day after arriving.
If the test comes back negative, they will then be able to leave self-isolation.