Major airlines are pressuring the US government to reconsider its decision not to reduce Covid-19 restrictions, which prevent travelers from entering much of Europe and beyond, even as other countries eased restrictions.
The chiefs of many major airlines, as well as the CEOs of Heathrow Airport and industry group the US Travel Association, will host a virtual news conference on Monday to lobby for the easing of travel restrictions between the US and the UK. The CEOs of American Airlines, IAG’s British Airways, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and JetBlue Airways Corp. will be in attendance.
On 11th May, airline CEOs urged for a meeting between US officials, UK officials, and airlines to discuss how to “reopen transatlantic travel as quickly as possible.”
Since March 2020, practically all non-US citizens who visited the UK during the previous 14 days have been prevented from entering the nation. Upon landing in the UK, most Americans must quarantine for ten days. Officials from the airlines and the administration said no changes are expected in the immediate future, but that the limits might be lifted as early as 4th July or thereabouts, though no decisions have been made.
France announced on Friday that vaccinated Americans will be allowed to enter the country beginning 9th June. United said that it would resume flights to Paris from Washington in July, and Delta announced that it will add flights to France as well.
“We know there is significant pent-up demand for service,” American Airlines President Robert Isom said at a press conference at Washington National Airport on Friday.
The airline, according to Isom, has “a lot of capacity to be ready to go” for European travel. When asked if 4th July was too late for summer travel in Europe, Isom replied, “We’re going to take it whenever it comes.”
Officials from airlines had hoped that by late May, the US would have relaxed travel restrictions on the United Kingdom and Ireland, where new COVID-19 instances had dropped dramatically.
Most non-U.S. citizens in Brazil, South Africa, India, and Iran are also subject to travel restrictions.
According to persons knowledgeable on the situation, the Biden administration spoke with British officials on Thursday, but the White House offered no indication that limitations would be lifted.
On Friday, the White House, which is focused on increasing immunization rates and reducing COVID-19 cases in the United States, declined to comment.
When President Joe Biden visits Europe next week, he will almost certainly be asked about the matter by foreign leaders.
“We certainly understand the desire of many Europeans to come to travel the United States and vice versa,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on 21st May. “We can’t respond to public pressure or even emotion. We have to rely on the guidance of our health and medical experts.”
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