A new bilateral Air Services Agreement has been agreed between the UK and US to “safeguard the future of air travel past the end of the transition period”.

The agreement was signed by transport secretary Grant Shapps on Tuesday, and was signed on behalf of the US by secretary of state Mike Pompeo and transportation secretary Elaine Chao.

It will replace the current EU agreement covering air travel between the two countries.

Shapps said: “The Air Services Agreement will allow us to continue to travel and trade with one of our closest friends and allies, working together to mutually boost our economies, either side of the Atlantic.

“This is just one of many steps we’re taking as we move towards a bright new future at the end of the transition period.”

A statement from the Department for Transport said the arrangement “preserved the continuation of travel, protected the economy and ensured the UK remains one of the world’s leading aviation hubs for both travellers and businesses”.

It added: “Tens of millions of passengers a year use these vital transatlantic routes, contributing to a trading relationship with the US worth over £230 billion.

“Today’s announcement will help ensure that the UK remains open for business with major economies around the world by maintaining this critical global link.”

However, Savvi Travel tweeted: “I can’t believe you just said millions of passengers use this and contribute to be £230 billion. Yet you are fail to recognize the travel industry. It will not be worth that amount, as it will all be GONE!!!!!!.”

Paul Charles, chief executive of PR firm The PC Agency, said on Twitter: “Great news to see an air services agreement signed between UK/US.

“Those of us who analyse the travel and transport sector are however still waiting for the vital gap to be filled – that between the UK and Europe post 31st December. There is still no agreement there.”