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Transatlantic and European air travel collaps

Restrictions on Omicron variant hit industry recovery

In the last week of November, bookings for transatlantic flights from the United States to Europe dropped 55 percent from the previous week. This is the first clear consequence of the flurry of new travel restrictions imposed by governments to limit the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. It's a trend that airlines had expected, though certainly not with such intensity. This seems to put an end, for now, to a nascent recovery (+73% on 2019) in the airline industry that was starting to pick up thanks to international connections.

That's what emerges from monitoring by a US travel analytics firm. Airline ticket bookings between the New and Old Continent in the first week of December were up 5% from the previous seven days, but accounted for only 33% of bookings recorded during the same period in 2019. Travel within Europe also took a hit, with a 24% drop in the last week of November and a further 47% drop in the first seven days of December. That's a traffic volume that marks a 22% drop from 2019.

The US now requires all passengers to present a negative covid-19 test result before they can travel, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status. Spain has banned unvaccinated travelers over the age of 12 from entering the country. States such as France, Portugal, and the Netherlands also require proof of negative tests before travel. Nearly all European governments have implemented containment measures. The fear is that the vacation season will signal a halt to recovery in the airline industry.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency