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Airlines hope for fistfuls of dollars as transatlantic flying returns | Airline industry

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The golden goose is airborne again. The reopening of the US border to leisure travellers from the UK and most of Europe – with the accompanying fattening of transatlantic schedules – has finally given the long-haul airlines something to be cheerful about.

The first flights for non-essential foreign visitors – holidaymakers, friends and family – will take off on Monday. For British Airways owner IAG, not to mention rival Virgin Atlantic and other carriers, it will feel like Christmas, Thanksgiving and all their birthdays rolled into in one.

In the wake of the reopening, IAG predicted a narrower loss – €3bn this year, down from €4.3bn in 2020 – and a possible return to profit by Easter. Transatlantic travel is the bedrock business for long-haul airlines, and location and shared language has traditionally put UK carriers in pole position in the European market. In the pre-pandemic days, when airlines turned a profit, the bulk of IAG’s…

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