Airlines Ask Feds to Relax COVID-19 Travel Restrictions
The U.S. Travel Association, along with the chief executive officers from major airlines as well as London Heathrow International Airport, will hold a virtual news conference on Monday to press the federal government to relax COVID-19 travel restrictions.
On hand will be the CEOs of American Airlines, Delta, United, JetBlue and British Airways, according to Reuters News Agency. The goal will be to come to an agreement on how to “expeditiously reopen transatlantic travel.”
Since March 2020, the United States has barred nearly all non-U.S. citizens who have been in the UK within the last 14 days from entering the country. Most U.S. travelers visiting the UK must quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.
While no restrictions have been removed yet, airline officials hope July 4 will be the day an official announcement is forthcoming. But September, when the mask mandate is due to be reviewed again, is more likely.
Europeans make up a huge part of the international travelers to the U.S. At a press event at Washington National Airport on Friday, American Airlines President Robert Isom said, “We know there is tremendous pent-up demand for service. (We have) a lot of capacity to be ready to go” for European travel. Asked if July 4 would be too late for European summer travel, Isom said: “We’re going to take it whenever it comes.”
Already, France said vaccinated Americans will be able to travel there starting on June 9. United said it would resume Paris flights from Washington in July and Delta said it was adding flights to France as well.
President Joe Biden is certain to face questions about the issue from foreign leaders when he travels to Europe next week.
“We certainly understand the desire of many Europeans to come to travel the United States and vice versa,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said May 21. “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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