Aviation and travel lobby groups have once again urged the US government to ease restrictions on foreign visitors as coronavirus case counts decline and vaccinations increase.
On 7 July two dozen US trade organisations including Airlines for America (A4A), the Regional Airline Association (RAA), US Travel Association (USTA), and Airports Council International (ACI) as well as IATA have called on the administration of President Joe Biden to come up with a plan that could safely allow visitors to return to the US before the end of the traditionally busy summer holiday travel season.
It is at least the fourth appeal from the industry in as many months to persuade the government to rethink measures it put in place months ago in order to stem the spread of the highly-contagious coronavirus.
The groups have set out recommendations that they say would enable travel to resume by 15 July.
They are calling on the government to replace all blanket entry bans with a more differentiated “framework of risk-based entry protocols”.
In the short term, the organisations recommend the US quickly lift entry restrictions and open a travel corridor between the US and the UK, allow fully vaccinated travellers from non-high-risk countries to enter the US and ease other restrictions by 15 July, “when the US is forecast to achieve widespread immunity and sustained declines in infections and hospitalisations”, the groups say.
The groups have repeatedly asked the US government to rethink its policies on foreign visitors.
IATA said earlier in the day that in May, domestic travel rose to about 76% of 2019 levels, while international travel still languishes around 15% of the level seen two years ago. Domestic travel in China and Russia has already risen above 2019 levels, IATA says, while India and Japan have seen deterioration due to the fears of new virus variants.
One-by-one, numerous European countries have opened their borders to vaccinated US citizens in the past weeks, but the US has not yet reciprocated. Air carriers and travel organisations fear that a second summer travel season could be lost if the government does not soon move to rescind the travel bans imposed in 2020 and early 2021.
Currently citizens of China, Iran, much of the European Union, UK, Brazil and South Africa are not permitted to enter the USA.