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Airlines Support COVID-19 Testing Requirement for U.S.-Bound Flights

Airlines Support COVID-19 Testing Requirement for U.S.-Bound Flights
Joe Cortez

Several airlines are banding together to ask the outgoing White house to support a COVID-19 testing plan for passengers traveling to the United States. Airlines for America sent a letter to the vice president asking to remove entry restrictions in favor of a testing scheme.

A group of U.S.-based carriers are asking the White House to end entry restrictions announced at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and replacing them with a global testing scheme for inbound flyers. Reuters reports the trade group Airlines for America sent a letter to vice president Mike Pence asking for the changes before the end of the current administration.

Group Asks to “Rescind Current Entry Restrictions” on Flyers from Brazil, Europe and U.K.

In the letter not-yet released by the consortium to the public, the group asks the Trump administration to “rescind current entry restrictions on travelers from Europe, the United Kingdom and Brazil as soon as possible.” In March 2020, the president banned inbound travel from Europe initially for 30 days, but has since extended it indefinitely.

In its place, the airlines are asking for a global testing program for all passengers entering the United States. The plan, first fronted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, calls for all travelers coming to America to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding their aircraft. As of Dec. 28, 2020, the CDC requires all flyers coming from the U.K. to present proof of a negative test taken within 72 hours of their departure.

Although the State of Hawaii and other countries have adopted successful inbound testing regimens, senior leaders at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue are reportedly against the idea. A White House Coronavirus task force meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, where the CDC suggestion is supposed to be discussed.

Airlines Still Split on COVID-19 Digital Health Passports

As the aviation industry looks towards what travel looks like post-pandemic, there is still a divide between how airlines will handle testing protocols. Both the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Commons Project Foundation have proposed dueling “health passport” options. While Lufthansa, JetBlue and United have signed on to the Commons Project Foundation plan, the IATA plan is being developed alongside member airlines with four distinct modules.

View Comments (6)


  1. gojko88


    January 4, 2021 at 11:21 pm

    The current restrictions don’t even apply to the whole of Europe, but to Schengen countries only, which makes the measure even more ridiculous.

  2. vargha

    January 5, 2021 at 4:33 am

    Biden/Harris will be all over this, sadly.

  3. bluemarble

    January 5, 2021 at 5:42 am

    What happens to people who have been vaccinated? Do they still have to be tested? And how about those who have already had, and recovered from, the virus?

  4. gunsar

    January 5, 2021 at 7:06 pm

    There is a loophole. For example, someone came from Brazil and produced a print out from the lab that the person is negative. How can the airline employees verify that the print out is real and authentic?

  5. xiphoid76

    January 6, 2021 at 7:12 am

    How do you even begin to organize getting a test in a foreign country – do these island nations in the Caribbean have the resources to perform all these PCR tests? What is you already have had Covid and the vaccine? It is getting ridiculous and near impossible to travel anymore. These tourist destinations will be decimated – I feel so bad for them!

  6. susiesan

    January 6, 2021 at 8:49 am

    This will just make it even more difficult for leisure travelers to take a vacation overseas. depending on the country you might be in covid testing may not be available. If this policy goes into effect it is the end of international vacations.

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