Travel groups call on US to waive Covid tests for vaccinated people on incoming flights

Feb 3, 2022: According to an AFP report, an international coalition of travel-related organizations called on the US government to stop requiring vaccinated passengers to present a negative Covid test before boarding US-bound flights.

In a letter to the White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeffrey Zients, the group wote, “Travel and aviation’s recovery is dependent on the government taking steps to remove travel restrictions that are no longer justified by current circumstances,”

“Clearly COVID is widespread throughout the US and attempts to control its importation via air travel under today’s circumstances are unlikely to change that fact,”

“Surveys of air passengers indicate that pre-departure testing is a leading factor in the decision not to travel internationally, as a result, international travel in 2021 was 75 percent below 2019 levels.” They further added.

Signatories of the letter include key advocacy organizations representing Asian, European and American airlines, as well as the US Chamber of Commerce and the US Travel Association. The group’s leader, Airlines for America – which represents major US carriers, including American Airlines, Delta Airlines and United Airlines – posted the letter on its website.

All three companies recently noted that the Omicron variant would delay their post pandemic recovery by one to two months. It is to be noted that after the disastrous year 2020, American Airlines and United both lost money in 2021 — about $2 billion each. While Delta, was able to show a small profit of about $280 million.

The coalition cited the EU, which recommended member countries lift restrictions for travel between European countries, as well as the UK, which has decided to lift pre-departure testing requirements for vaccinated passengers.

Aside from the upheaval caused by the pandemic, US airlines have had to deal with rising labor and fuel costs, as well as the rollout of new 5G technology in the United States, which has disrupted some flights for fear of interfering with some flight equipment.

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