US lifts UK travel ban; UK consumer confidence lowest since March; Dow hits record – as it happened

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A photo of Virgin Atlantic’s VS3 taking off from Heathrow this morning, taken from BA flight BA001 in today’s simultaneous departure Photograph: Gwyn Topham

Our transport correspondent Gwyn Topham has been speaking to some of the passengers travelling to the US on BA flight 001 from Heathrow today.

Here’s a flavour:

Jemmi Fajer, 22, an easyJet flight attendant from Lyon, had planned trips to visit friends in New York city three times during the pandemic in the hope that the rules would change, but had to cancel each time.

She said:

“I’m so excited to be finally going – just to see old friends, stroll around, see all my favourite neighbourhoods.

Jean Berrigan, 72, a retired nurse from Suffolk, described herself as a solo traveller – frustrated during the pandemic – and was heading out for a four-night stay in the US, where she used to work.

“I was watching and thought as soon as it opens up, I’m going. I’m so pleased it’s opened up for everyone, families reuniting.”

A ticket for the first flight cost more but, she said:

“I just thought I’m going regardless – I booked the first flight I could.”

More stories here, including Bhavna and Bindiya Patel from south Croydon who were flying to reunite with family, and businessman Nigel Scorey who says technology such as Zoom means he won’t need to travel as much.

The British satellite communications company Inmarsat has agreed a $7.3bn (£5.4bn) takeover by the California-based Viasat, becoming the latest UK tech firm to be taken over by a foreign rival.

The deal is the latest in which a UK company that plays a key role in Britain’s economy and national security is to be taken over by foreign rivals or private equity firms. Inmarsat was listed on the London Stock Exchange before being taken private two years ago by a consortium including the private equity firm Apax.

Viasat, which described the deal as “transformative” for the global communications industry, said it intended to work with the government to continue to invest and grow Inmarsat’s presence in the UK.

More here: