The Trump Administration could end a COVID-19 related ban on travel to the United States from Europe and a handful of other nations such as Brazil. The restrictions were brought in to try and contain the importation of the COVID-19 vaccine into the US.
Around the world, travel restrictions continue to impact the aviation industry. For starters, bans such as the one in place in the US restrict a portion of travelers. Meanwhile, others may be put off by the rapid nature of the changes that are being made. For example, Ryanair opened up flights to Faro after the UK added a travel corridor, only for the corridor to be taken away the next week.
What is being considered?
According to Reuters, the Trump Administration is considering ending the travel bans in place for passengers flying to the United States from Europe and Brazil. According to the publication, the White House’s coronavirus task-force backs the change.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
However, Reuters goes on to say that President Trump is yet to make a final decision on whether the ban should be lifted. As such, no firm time frame for such action currently exists. Indeed, Trump may still decide to keep the ban in place.
Why airlines want the ban dropped
Dropping the EU to US travel ban would likely come as a massive boon to airlines on both sides of the pond. Take British Airways as an example. Transatlantic flights to the US make up a considerable part of the airline’s long-haul network.
The travel ban on UK passengers entering the US caused a large part of the airline’s target market to vanish overnight when it came into force in mid-March. It hit especially hard as it impacted almost all passengers from those countries, not just those who live there. As such, some flights to the US have been operated with freight as the main passengers.
Could testing help?
Airlines have been lobbying for governments on both sides of the Atlantic to allow passengers to sidestep regulations with increased testing. United had launched a trial where all passengers traveling from Newark to London Heathrow would get a negative COVID-19 result before boarding the aircraft.
Meanwhile, last week Simple Flying reported that American Airlines, British Airways, and oneworld had partnered to trial a similar testing strategy on transatlantic flights. The hope is that if the airlines can show that their testing plans are accurately catching those who would try to travel with COVID-19, then they will be allowed as a quarantine exception. Currently, all those arriving in the UK from the US must quarantine regardless of their testing history. From mid-December, the quarantine will drop to just five days with a COVID-19 test.
Do you think the US should end its ban on European travelers? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!