Several major airline companies are urging the U.S. and European Union to get transatlantic travel going again by launching a joint coronavirus testing program for travelers, according to the Associated Press.
In a letter written Tuesday (July 21), the CEOs of United Airlines, American Airlines, IAG and Lufthansa Group said the global economy would be able to recover better if transatlantic travel was reopened between the U.S. and Europe. The letter was addressed urgently to Vice President Mike Pence and to European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson.
By implementing a new testing program for potential passengers, the CEOs hoped it “could be an excellent opportunity for government and industry to work together,” according to the AP, and to help figure out a way to get business running again.
Signers of the letter included United’s Scott Kirby, Lufthansa’s Carsten Spohr, American’s Doug Parker, and Willie Walsh of International Airlines Group (IAG), which owns British Airways and Iberia, according to the AP.
As the pandemic hit the U.S. in March, officials in the industry watched the public appetite for travel virtually disappear, with bookings drying up and museums, restaurants and other tourist favorites closing their doors entirely for much of the spring and early summer.
John Galvin, president and CEO of AAA Northeast, said people were taking more road trips to outdoorsy spots where they could practice social distancing, as opposed to cruises or flights to busy hotels they might otherwise have undertaken.
Payments firm Flywire, in a recent survey, saw a robust demand for travel as the pandemic seemed to be leveling out in the U.S. in June, PYMNTS reported. Sixty-nine percent of respondents said they want to travel more once the pandemic has receded, while 74 percent said the idea of traveling after the pandemic ends was an inspiration to keep going during quarantine earlier in the year.
When travel does come back, many respondents to Flywire’s survey have said easy payment methods are important to them.