Reports suggest that the Biden administration is considering relaxing some of its travel restrictions in May. If it proceeds as planned, this action would include major travel markets such as its neighbors Mexico and Canada and vital transatlantic routes.
Over a year ago, US President Donald Trump enacted travel bans for areas that were particularly affected by COVID at the time, including the whole of Europe and the United Kingdom. When entering office, President Biden initially said that he wouldn’t be looking to relax travel bans in place at that time.
Travel bans set to be relaxed?
It seems as though the US is considering relaxing its travel bans, according to reporting in CBNC. According to the publication, two sources have revealed that the Biden administration is considering relaxing its current restrictions. However, nothing has yet been set in stone, with mid-May floated as an idea.
The publication reports that the current state of the virus worldwide means that the government is not currently comfortable reopening borders. However, the unnamed source is reported to have said,
“There is going to be a sea change in mid-May when vaccines are more widely available to everyone.”
A boon for travel?
The reports suggest that, along with its neighbors to the north and south, the country would also relax its border restrictions with the United Kingdom and the European Union. This would come as a considerable boost to airlines on both sides of the pond.
While airlines have continued to operate transatlantic flights, their passenger numbers have been limited primarily to US residents and citizens.
Before the pandemic, the route between London and New York was the most lucrative in the world, with British Airways alone netting over a billion dollars a year between the two cities.
While it has shown some recovery, the market between the United States and the European Union is still hurting. According to data from RadarBox.com, this time in 2019, an average of 871 flights were operating between the two markets. The latest data suggests that this currently sits at an average of 365 flights per day.
While this means that flights are still down 58%, it’s a noticeable improvement from the worst week of the crisis when the figure stood at just 166 flights a day. Airlines on both sides of the pond have slowly begun to adapt to the new rules and restrictions likely to be enforced by the pandemic. British Airways and American Airlines are both trialing the VeriFLY health passport. Meanwhile, Delta has been trialing quarantine-free travel between select destinations in the United States and Italy.
When do you think that the US will begin to relax its border restrictions? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!