In late July, the Biden Administration said it had no intention of lifting existing travel restrictions due to the growing spread of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2. In response APEX, the Airline Passenger Experience Association, with members including every major global airline, has written a letter to President Joe Biden to lobby the USA to open its doors to Europe.
Senior figures at APEX have written to President Biden to propose a “staged reopening of the United States for vaccinated international travellers, beginning with Europe, effective immediately.”
The letter, which is signed by key figures at APEX – Dr Joe Leader, CEO, Russ Lumieux, COO, Lauren Costello, executive director and Michael Taylor, US policy director – references scientific points shared by the Biden administration to support its proposal.
The points cited include that “every European country currently blocked by the US has significantly lower Covid-19 infection rates” than the USA. The letter also cites the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance that “people who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorised vaccine or a vaccine authorised for emergency use by the World Health Organization can travel safely within the United States.”
The letter adds that opening the doors to the USA, which has now vaccinated 70% of adults, to fully vaccinated individuals from Europe “only strengthens [the] administration’s message: Vaccination provides all of us more freedom.”
However, APEX does support additional testing measures for vaccinated travellers as a requirement for entry.
The correspondence mentions that the US must act quickly, or face the possibility of the European Union closing its doors to US travellers, after President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said last week in Brussels that the issue of the US not reciprocating by lifting its own travel restrictions “must not drag on for weeks.”
Finally, APEX recounts examples of divided families, from “a hopeful mother from France that flew to the US in February 2020 for IVF, but [whose] healthy embryo has awaited implementation since March 2020,” to “a European grandmother who cannot meet her only grandchild, born during the pandemic.”
“We implore you to use your power as President to immediately enable Europe as a test of your administration’s proposed vaccinated international travel programme for foreign nationals. Our airlines are ready, our European travellers are ready,” the letter concludes.
Story by Stephanie Taylor, APEX