Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3.
Airline leaders driving some larger carriers in the United States speaks against a possible test requirement for coronavirus for domestic travel and argues that it would reduce already weak demand and remove valuable tests from those who need it for medical reasons.
Earlier this week, Dr Marty Cetron, Head of the Global Migration and Quarantine Department at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that the Biden administration considering implementing mandatory coronavirus testing for passengers on domestic flights across the country.
The requirement was to be extended to the United States’ new international test requirement, which came into force on Tuesday. As of January 26, all travelers traveling to the United States must test negative for COVID-19 within three days of boarding or show evidence that they have recovered from the virus. No further details were provided on the potential mandate for domestic travel.
Meanwhile, the executives of American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways are already pushing back. On Thursday, the trio announced airlines that they lost a total of $ 3.5 billion in the last three months of 2020, reports the Associated Press.
“International travel restrictions have resulted in reduced demand,” said American Airlines CEO Doug Parker in a fourth quarter income call. “We’ve seen that especially on short distances of international travel, things like Mexico and the Caribbean.”
Although airlines support testing of international travelers in the fight against COVID-19, they say it is expensive and impractical to test travelers moving within the United States.
“Why choose flights?” Southwest CEO Gary Kelly asked in an investor interview. “If you want to test people, test them – but test them before they go to the grocery store, test them before they go to a restaurant.”
JetBlue President Joanna Geraghty stressed that COVID-19 testing would be better distributed to those who need it for medical reasons.
“In many parts of the country, test sites are scarce and, frankly, it takes many days and some cases actually get results back,” Geraghty said during a income call. “And when you start thinking about a framework that is already congested and you add domestic travelers to it, this puts a lot of pressure on an already fragile system and, frankly, we are worried that it would actually reduce the ability of some people to legitimately needs to be tested for health reasons to be tested. “
US, Southwest and JetBlue also issued gloomy revenue prospects for the current quarter, corresponding to similar sentiments from Delta, United and Alaska. The Associated Press reports that the new year has a “gloomy start” for the six largest US airlines, which lost $ 34 billion last year.
As demand for travel remains weak and is likely to do so for several months, airlines continue to cut costs and encourage employees to leave. Federal aid has also averted more countries, at least until March. Meanwhile, airlines are running out of billions of dollars in revenue shortages from private lenders and taxpayer-funded facilities.
Fox News Daniella Genovese and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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