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USA: airlines ask stop to covid tests

A letter to Biden: loosen rules for vaccinated passengers

The top management of the Airlines for America group sent a letter to the advisor to the President of the United States, Jeffrey Zients, in recent hours. They ask to eliminate the requirement for mandatory covid testing for vaccinated passengers landing in the country. The aim is to reinvigorate the albeit slow recovery in demand for international travel after the sudden halt brought about by the spread of the Omicron variant.

Relaxing the restrictions "is justified by the number of covid-19 cases in all 50 states, increased immunization and higher vaccination rates, and new treatments" in health care. "Removal of the requirement will greatly support the recovery of the travel and aviation industry in the United States and around the world, without increasing the spread of the virus and its variants", said the missive. 

According to the Airlines for America group, international air travel in the United States is down 38 percent from 2019 levels. It must be said that the White House and the Centers for Disease Control (Cdc) have only recommended, but never imposed, the test to those who embark on foreign flights. The request, therefore, is to apply the domestic standard also to international flights.

The document expresses the hopes of major air carriers such as Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, but also those of travel companies, hotels, airport managers and aircraft manufacturers. 

European countries had begun lifting entry bans on visitors from the United States last spring 2021. A reciprocal measure was adopted in November 2021 by Washington. However, even if borders are reopened, the U.S. Travel Association predicts that demand for international air travel will not recover until 2024.

Gic - 1242044

AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency