U.S. Airlines and travel agencies on Wednesday called on the government of US President Joe Biden to lift a visa requirement for vaccinated passengers to travel to the United States to boost tourism.
"The recovery of the travel and aviation sector depends on the government's decision to lift restrictions that are no longer justified by the current situation," said some XNUMX professional organizations in a letter to the White House's pandemic coordinator. COVID-19 Jeffrey Zinz.
The letter was published on its website by one of the signatories, Airlines for America, a pressure group representing companies such as American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.
These three airlines recently predicted that the variant strain of the new Omicron coronavirus, which is highly contagious but initially less severe, will delay recovery by one to two months.
"Clearly the COVID-19 "It is widespread in the United States and efforts to control its importation by air travel are unlikely to change anything in the current circumstances," industry representatives said in a letter.
They also announce that Britain has lifted these mandatory tests for travelers entering the country and that the European Union has recommended an end to restrictions on Europe.
"Passenger polls show that pre-departure tests are an important factor in deciding not to travel abroad. People simply do not want to risk not being able to return to the United States at the end of their business or tourist trip. "As a result, in 2021, international travel was 75% below 2019 levels."
The blows that the airlines have received
After a disastrous year in 2020 for the entire aviation sector, American Airlines and United lost money and in 2021, about $ 2 billion each.
Delta managed to change the terms of the game with a net profit of $ 280 million. In addition to the pandemic-related problems, companies have had to deal with rising labor and fuel costs.
They also had to manage in early January the development of new 5G bands by mobile operators AT&T and Verizon, which could potentially cause interference to important aircraft flight instruments in case of bad weather.