Biden Signals Europe Travel Ban Will Be Lifted Soon – Lowell Sun

(Bloomberg) – US President Joe Biden has signaled progress towards lifting the ban on travel from Europe, raising hopes for a full reopening of the nearly $40 billion air corridor of the United States. North Atlantic 16 months after flights were halted due to Covid-19.

“It’s happening now,” Biden said at a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel after raising the issue during a meeting at the White House on Thursday. “I’m waiting to hear from our people, our Covid team, as to when this should be done.”

He said he expected a response “in the next few days”.

Removing the ban would be a boon for carriers on both sides of the Atlantic. Then-President Donald Trump banned entry from most of Europe, including the UK, in March 2020. Biden extended the policy early in his term.

“It is high time for the US government to act on the scientific evidence, which clearly shows that international travel can safely resume,” Airlines for America, the lobby group for major US carriers, said Friday in a statement. communicated.

While Canada and the United Kingdom have among the highest national vaccination rates, at 70% and 69% respectively, travel to the United States from these countries remains down 96% and 94%, according to A4A data.

Shares of Air France-KLM, Deutsche Lufthansa AG and IAG SA rose slightly in Europe, while major US airlines United Airlines Holdings Inc., American Airlines Group Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc. were little changed at 12:41 p.m. At New York. Friday amid broader market declines.

“This is good news for the sector, a bit of optimism,” said Daniel Roeska, analyst at Bernstein. “The timing will be important. In any case, it will probably be too late for summer holidays, but it may be time for business trips in September and October.

Transatlantic routes are particularly important to airline profits, as they are by far the largest market for high-end long-haul travel.

Flights between Europe and North America attracted 88 million passengers in 2019 and generated $37.5 billion in sales, according to the International Air Transport Association. Both metrics fell by more than 80% last year as the virus brought cross-border travel to a halt.

European governments are growing frustrated with the Biden administration for refusing to lift restrictions preventing most of their citizens from traveling to the United States, with officials citing inconsistent rules, economic costs and an outdated strategy to stop the coronavirus.

Fully vaccinated Americans can now travel to most European countries, and a UK-bound quarantine requirement is expected to be lifted next week.

But the United States did not reciprocate, leaving half of the market unsatisfied.

Americans living in Europe have generally been able to travel to and from the United States for most of the pandemic.

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