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Airlines step up push to get U.S. to drop international...

Covid-19

COVID-19

Airlines step up push to get U.S. to drop international Covid-19 testing rule

Passengers makes a line at the Miami International Airport on the first day that America's borders opened to fully-vaccinated international travelers, in Miami, Florida, USA, 08 November 2021. EPA-EFE/CRISTOBAL HERRERA-ULASHKEVICH
By Reuters
06 Jun 2022 0

WASHINGTON, June 3 (Reuters) - U.S. airlines are stepping up their efforts to get the Biden administration to end Covid-19 pre-departure testing requirements for international air travel.

American Airlines AAL.O Chief Executive Robert Isom said on Friday at a conference the testing requirements were “nonsensical” and were “depressing” leisure and business travel.

Airlines say many Americans are not travelling internationally because of concerns they will test positive and be stranded abroad. International U.S. air travel remains down about 14% from pre-pandemic levels.

Isom, who met with politicians in Washington on Thursday to discuss the issue, said 75% of countries American serves do not have testing requirements. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires travellers to test negative within one day before flights to the United States.

“We’re really frustrated and this is something that is damaging not only U.S. travel but it just doesn’t make sense,” Isom said.

He noted testing rules do not apply to people crossing U.S. land borders and noted the Boston Red Sox baseball team in April flew to Toronto to play the Blue Jays – but rode a bus home to avoid the testing requirements.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Wednesday the administration was “constantly evaluating our policy… And any decision on pre-departure testing requirement would be made by our health and medical experts.”

Delta Air Lines DAL.N Chief Executive Ed Bastian told Reuters on Wednesday that dropping the requirements will boost travel. He said 44 of 50 countries Delta serves do not require testing.

“We know it will help induce and incent travellers to go abroad, bring more commerce in, more business in so hopefully they will get it done soon,” Bastian said.

Airlines for America, an industry group representing major carriers, and U.S. Travel met with a deputy White House Covid-19 coordinator Tuesday, who gave no indication of when the Biden administration might rethink the requirement.

By David Shepardson

(Reporting by David ShepardsonEditing by Tomasz Janowski)

Gallery

"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"

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