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US airline carriers are requesting the Trump administration to end the travel ban currently in place for many countries, and replace it with a global testing program.

On Monday, the Airlines for America (A4A), penned a letter to Vice President Mike Pence requesting the termination of the travel ban for travelers from Europe, the UK and Brazil. 

plane landing in Washington

Airlines for America represents most US airline carriers, including American, Delta, United and Southwest.

The group is petitioning for a global testing program to provide a safe alternative in which borders may remain safe and controlled while being open. 

According to the letter, the group states:

“We believe a well-planned program focused on increasing testing of travelers to the United States will further these objectives in a much more effective way than the blanket travel restrictions currently in place.”

Global Testing Program

The group representing US airlines is advocating a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) proposal to apply a global testing program in which all travelers arriving to the US will be required to test negative for COVID-19. 

The CDC recently imposed testing requirements for eligible UK travelers entering the US as a measure to curb the transmission of the new strain of the coronavirus which was first reported in the UK.

Many US states are also requiring testing as a means to gain entry for inter-state travel without quarantine requirements.

According to the CDC, testing programs enable safer travel and reduce the risk of transmission. In regards to testing, the CDC website states:

“Testing before and after travel can reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Testing does not eliminate all risk, but when paired with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations.”

A senior administration official from the CDC has reported that their proposal to expand international testing requirements face significant opposition from Pence’s office and other top levels of administration.

Current Travel Ban

The US is currently not accepting the majority of foreign nationals that have been in any of the following regions in the past 14 days: China, Iran, European Schengen area, UK, Republic of Ireland and Brazil. 

london uk mask

While it has previously been rumoured for the Trump administration to end the travel ban on the regions in question, nothing has yet come to fruition.

Meanwhile, the UK has persistently pushed the lifting of travel restrictions. In an email to Reuters, a UK Department of Transport spokeswoman stated:

“Restarting transatlantic flights is of critical importance to the economic recovery of the UK and the US, the airline industry and for British nationals, most of whom cannot enter the US. British officials continue to pursue the resolution to this issue.”

american airlines offers ocr test at DFW

US Airlines Anticipating Restart of International Travel

With a COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the early phases and an indefinite period of time required before it is readily available to the general public, airlines are pushing for testing procedures to safely restart international travel. 

The airlines industry has succumbed to weakening revenues and demand, largely in part to travel restrictions. 

Subsequently, a global testing program is being heavily pursued by the airlines to accelerate the resumption of international travel. 

Amderican Travelers waiting at airport

Many US carriers are already offering testing services for travelers, such as the availability of mail-in test kits prior to departure. 

Delta has recently piloted quarantine-free travel programs for international flights in which all passengers had to be tested for travel.

While it is evident that US airlines have committed to testing, ultimately it is up to the current administration, or the next, to authorize testing programs as a means to safely open borders.

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories

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