Boris Johnson and Joe Biden will on Thursday pledge to restart air travel between their countries as soon as possible as world leaders gather in Cornwall seeking to get people flying again.
In their first ever face-to-face meeting, the UK and US leaders will announce a new joint travel task force in a concerted effort to see the return of transatlantic tourism.
The Telegraph understands the task force will report back with recommendations next month, offering the hope of US holidays later this summer being salvaged.
Currently people in Britain who are not US residents are not allowed to travel to America, barring a few exemptions, under a ban Washington imposed at the start of the pandemic.
A wider drive is also under way between world leaders to agree on a single system for international travellers to show their Covid status, simplifying the complex current setup.
Leaders of the ‘Group of Seven’ nations – the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – are gathering at Carbis Bay in Cornwall for their first in-person summit in almost two years.
Top of their agenda will be mapping the path out of the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond, including getting more vaccines to developing countries and rebuilding the global economy.
G7 Summit agenda
But discussions about easing border restrictions risk being overshadowed domestically by growing doubt about whether the final step of England reopening on June 21 will take place as planned.
Mr Johnson noted yesterday that Covid hospitalisations were now rising as well as cases in the UK and said more data was still needed before final decisions were announced on Monday.
Prof Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College London, whose modelling is influential in Whitehall, warned that a “substantial” third wave of Covid cases could emerge and become as big as the second wave.
Yet Andy Haldane, the Bank of England chief economist, argued reopening on June 21 would be “fantastic” for the economy and could push the UK growth rate above EU nations.
Opening on June 21 will not come close to previous peaks
Mr Biden flew into Britain on Wednesday night, beginning his first overseas trip since becoming the US president in Britain in what UK diplomats have taken as a positive sign.
He and Mr Johnson will kick off a new chapter in US-UK relations when they meet in Cornwall today by signing a new version of the Atlantic Charter.
The original Atlantic Charter was penned in 1941 by then prime minister Winston Churchill and president Franklin D Roosevelt, spelling out their vision for peace after the Second World War.
What is the Atlantic Charter?
The principles it laid out, including low trade barriers, economic co-operation and people’s right to self-determination, became the bedrock of the post-war international order that Britain and America helped forge in their own image.
The new Atlantic Charter will recommit to the US-UK jointly defending democracy, building a fair global trading system, countering cyber threats, maintaining collective security and tackling climate change.
President Joe Biden prepares to address US Air Force personnel and their families stationed at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, Suffolk, ahead of the three-day G7 Summit
Credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP
Mr Biden delivers his speech
Credit: Joe Giddens
It is a symbolic move to show Britain and America will work closely together to counter the threats to the existing international order, including from Russia and China, and rebuild the world after Covid.
It will also be seen as something of a repudiation of Donald Trump’s US presidency, when Britain was hit with tariffs on steel and aluminium, traditional international alliances became strained and Washington downgraded tackling climate change as a policy priority.
Mr Johnson will say: “While Churchill and Roosevelt faced the question of how to help the world recover following a devastating war, today we have to reckon with a very different but no less intimidating challenge – how to build back better from the coronavirus pandemic.
“And as we do so, cooperation between the UK and US, the closest of partners and the greatest of allies, will be crucial for the future of the world’s stability and prosperity.
“The agreements President Biden and I will make today, rooted as they are in our shared values and outlook, will form the foundation of a sustainable global recovery.
"Eighty years ago the US president and British prime minister stood together promising a better future. Today we do the same.”
President Joe Biden’s European tour itinerary
The new travel UK-US taskforce will be overseen on the British end by Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, and chaired by senior officials in the UK and US transport departments.
The Biden administration is also forming working groups with Canada, Mexico and the European Union to consider how best for America to lower its travel restrictions.
Before the outbreak of coronavirus, more than 5 million Britons visited the US and over 4.5 million Americans visited the UK every year.
A Downing Street spokesman said when they meet today, Mr Johnson and Mr Biden “are expected to agree to work to relaunch UK-US travel as soon as possible through a new travel taskforce which will make recommendations on safely reopening international travel”.
Last night it was reported that the Biden administration is buying 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to donate to the world as part of its effort to boost vaccination rates in other countries.