The UK has reached an open skies agreement with the US that will allow transatlantic flights to continue uninterrupted after the UK leaves the EU.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the deal was one of nine new air service agreements secured by the UK for post-Brexit Britain.
The others are with Albania, Georgia, Iceland, Israel, Kosovo, Montenegro, Morocco and Switzerland.
The Department for Transport said it is also in advanced talks with Canada.
Virgin Altantic CEO Craig Kreeger said the airline was 'thrilled' the UK and US had reached an agreement.
"We would like to thank the Department for Transport, Department of Transportation and Department of State for their diligence and hard work in finalising this agreement far in advance of the March 2019 deadline which will provide much needed reassurance for both business and leisure travellers," he said.
"We will continue to work with governments and stakeholders across our network to ensure our customers can continue to travel seamlessly."
At the moment, the UK's air routes with other countries are negotiated by the EU, but when it leaves the European Union next March, these air service agreements might no longer be valid, hence the need for the UK to reach separate deals with every country.
Grayling told the BBC: "This new arrangement and those concluded with eight other countries around the world are proof that the UK will continue to be a major player on the world stage after we leave the EU."
Under the deal, EU majority-owned airlines that are currently operating between the UK and US will be able to continue to fly existing routes as long as they remain owned and controlled by EU/EEA nationals or UK nationals.
Any non-UK airline wanting to establish a route between the UK and US in the future will have to apply for a waiver from the US government.
British Airways' parent company IAG described the new open skies agreement with the US as 'a significant positive development which we welcome'. Chief executive Willie Walsh said that it 'facilitates strong competition and is clearly pro-consumer'.
The Brexit agreement negotiated by Theresa May, which is currently being debated in Parliament, includes a 'comprehensive air transport agreement' for UK-EU flights during the planned transition period, but this won't apply if the UK leaves the Union without a deal.
Courtesy of Travelmole.
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