- Title: 'It means the world': families and friends reunite at UK's Heathrow
- Date: 2nd August 2021
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (AUGUST 2, 2021) (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** FAMILY HUGGING ARRIVING RELATIVE MORE OF PEOPLE HUGGING (SOUNDBITE) (English) LONDON RESIDENT, 71-YEAR OLD MICHAEL BLAKE, SAYING: "Well, our son and daughter-in-law and grandson are flying in from New York due to the change in the rules because they live in New York, just outside New York in a place called Scarsdale and we haven't seen them for 18 months, we have been trying to go there. At the moment I have got two tickets booked for us to go but we haven't been able to go because of the regulations but now the regulations have changed and they can come and see us. So they literary booked last week and coming in this morning." VARIOUS OF PASSENGERS ARRIVING (SOUNDBITE) (English) LONDON RESIDENT,72-YEAR OLD SUE BLAKE, SAYING: "It means the world especially an eight-year-old child who hasn't seen his grandparents for a couple of years - it is a big chunk of his life and I am so thrilled for him that he can come here." SUE AND MICHAEL BLAKE HUGGING ARRIVING GRANDSON, DAUGHTER IN LAW VARIOUS OF CHILDHOOD FRIENDS, 40-YEAR OLD EMMA PIKE HUGGING 41-YEAR OLD SAMANTHA COOKE HUGGING (SOUNDBITE) (English) TRAVELLER ARRIVING FROM BOSTON, SAMANTHA COOKE, SAYING: "Ah amazing, surreal, the fact that I don't have a return ticket to have to leave in a couple of weeks is mental and I can't even comprehend it so it is a big day, it is a big day." EMMA PIKE AND SAMANTHA COOKE WALKING OUT OF TERMINAL (SOUNDBITE) (English) TRAVELLER FROM NORTH CAROLINA, 31-YEAR-OLD COLLEEN CASTRO, SAYING: "It is really awesome, I think it is been a really long time. Actually, I'm pregnant with our first, with my inlaws' first grandchild so it is really exciting to finally be able to be here and share that news with them. It has been a really long time." FAMILIES HUGGING / WOMAN WIPING AWAY TEARS MAN WALKING AWAY WITH MEMBERS OF HIS ARRIVING FAMILY INTERNATIONAL ARRIVALS AREA AT HEATHROW AIRPORT TERMINAL 5 PEOPLE WAITING FOR ARRIVING PASSENGERS VARIOUS OF FLIGHT STATUS BOARDS AT TERMINAL (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEATHROW AIRPORT CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, JOHN HOLLAND-KAYE, SAYING: "This a hugely important moment, you will see the numbers of families behind me who haven't seen their loved ones for 18 months and can finally get reconnected and this is what international travel is all about - connecting people." MAN HUGGING CHILD IN FACE SHIELD SIGN IN TERMINAL READING (ENGLISH) 'TEST CENTRE' (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEATHROW AIRPORT CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, JOHN HOLLAND-KAYE, SAYING: "I think quarantine-free travel and testing-free travel is what we should be aiming for and as more parts of the world get their vaccination levels up to the level we have in the UK, we should be aiming to get back to travel as it used to be and getting back to connecting businesses and families in the way we have always done. And that is what Heathrow is all about." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING ARRIVING / PUSHING LUGGAGE OUT OF TERMINAL (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEATHROW AIRPORT CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, JOHN HOLLAND-KAYE, SAYING: "Travel demand will pick up over the next couple of months and then I hope subtly build and it might take a couple of years to get back to where it used to be because that depends on just the UK government's limitation of people coming in but also other countries getting their vaccination levels up. But within a few years, we should be back to where we used to be and this is hugely important for the UK. Heathrow is the biggest port in the UK and all the planes that fly from Heathrow carry the UK's exports all over the world under the seats of the passengers and so as we can get more countries connected we can help to get British business back in the air and trading with countries all over the world." VARIOUS OF LONG-HAUL FLIGHTS LANDING AT HEATHROW AIRPORT
- Embargoed: 16th August 2021 11:19
- Keywords: COVID-19 EU England travel U.S. coronavirus europe heathrow airport quarantine vaccinated visitors
- Location: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- City: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Europe,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001EOL81TZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Families and friends were overjoyed at London's Heathrow Airport on Monday after a travel rule change meant they could reunite after 18 months of pandemic separation.
"Very, very excited. It means the world," said Sue Blake, as she waited to greet her son, daughter-in-law, and grandson who had flown in from New York and who she last saw two years ago.
"It's a big chunk of his life and I'm so thrilled for him that he can come here," she said of the eight-year-old.
Watching the hugs and tears in the arrivals hall, Heathrow's boss urged Britain to remove barriers to travel, not add to them, amid speculation that the government was poised to impose more rules.
"Let's just make it easier now for people to travel," Heathrow's chief executive John Holland-Kaye told Reuters.
Britain, where the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has nearly reached 130,000, reopened its borders to large parts of the world on Monday, scrapping quarantine for fully vaccinated arrivals from the European Union, excluding France, and the United States.
(Production: Gerry Mey, Ben Makori)
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