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Airlines and Travel Industry Press the White House Yet Again to Abandon Pre-Departure Testing Rules

Airlines and Travel Industry Press the White House Yet Again to Abandon Pre-Departure Testing Rules

Representatives from the airline and travel industry held a meeting with the Biden administration at the White House on Tuesday to once again press for pre-departure COVID-19 testing rules to be abandoned.

Amongst non-Asian countries, the United States has become an outlier in still requiring nearly all international air travelers to have a pre-departure test. Airlines claim the rules are acting as a major deterrent to travel and harming the U.S. economy.

Airlines for America which representatives major U.S. airlines including American, Delta and United Airlines, said the testing rules are “no longer aligned with the current epidemiological environment”.

“Science has shown time and time again that the pre-departure testing requirement is not effective and is not stopping or even slowing the spread of COVID,” commented the lobby group’s president and CEO Nicholas E. Calio.

“Quite frankly, the only impact the pre-departure testing requirement is having is a chilling effect on an already fragile economy here in the U.S,” Calio continued.

Research commissioned by the U.S. Travel industry suggests nearly half of potential international travelers wouldn’t want to travel to the United States within the next 12-months because of the testing requirement.

The majority said the risk of testing positive and having their travel plans upended was a major deterrent, while nearly two-thirds said they’d rather spend their dollars on traveling to countries without cumbersome entry rules.

Airlines for America claims around international passenger numbers could be boosted by 4.3 million if the rules were dropped.

“There is simply no scientific justification for maintaining the pre-departure testing requirement,” Calio continued. “It is past time for the U.S. to catch up with the rest of the globe, follow the science and eliminate this pandemic-era barrier to air travel.”

The United Kingdom was one of the first countries to lift all international travel rules in March and hasn’t experienced any discernible difference in COVID-19 rates. Since then, nearly all of Europe has abandoned entry rules for both vaccinated and non-vaccinated travelers.

The U.S. travel industry is, however, currently only pressing the White House to lift testing rules for fully vaccinated travelers. This would bring the United States in line with the likes of Canada and Australia.

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