Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) – The return of international tourists is a monumental moment in the nation’s recovery from the pandemic.

JFK Airport will host the nation’s welcome party with the first planes arriving there. But the airports in Newark and LaGuardia will also welcome international tourists for the first time in over a year and a half.

Emotional reunions are expected at airports Monday morning as families reunite for the first time in 20 months.

Two rival airlines took off from London Heathrow Airport at the same time.

Both Virgin Atlantic and British Airways flights are en route to JFK International Airport for the first time with non-Americans on board for 20 months.

International tourists must be fully vaccinated and show evidence of a negative COVID test, with some exceptions.

For British Airways, it’s the return to their most profitable route, London to New York.

“We keep outlining the economic impact of staying closed and the human impact. So there are a lot of people who have not been able to visit family in the United States. They have not been able to be reunited. You know, both countries have huge amounts of foreign direct investment going both ways and it will be affected by this stalemate, “said Sean Doyle, CEO, British Airways.

It’s also the last piece of the puzzle for New York City’s struggling tourism industry. Hotels, restaurants and Broadway shows are all heavily dependent on international tourists.

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