KEY POINTS

  • The consideration was cleared by the White House pandemic task force
  • The CDC, however, is still advising against all-but essential travel
  • The industry is expecting revenues to come in some 60% lower than last year

The Trump administration may consider lifting some travel bans as a way to prop up the struggling airline industry.

U.S. officials and those in the airline industry told Reuters in an exclusive that the Trump administration is reconsidering some entry restrictions. They're considering lifting the ban on those who have recently been in Brazil as well as Britain, Ireland and 26 other European countries.

“Many administration officials argue the restrictions no longer make sense given that most countries around the world are not subject to the entry ban,” the report, published Wednesday, read. “They contend lifting the restrictions would be a boost to struggling U.S. airlines, which have seen international travel fall by 70%, according to airline industry data.”

President Donald Trump ordered a ban on most non-U.S. visitors from China in late January and followed suit on Iran in February. Travel restrictions were enacted in March that bar many visitors from Europe from entering the country. A similar restriction was enacted for Brazilian travelers in May.

Most non-U.S. residents are prohibited from entering U.S. territories if they’ve been in any of those countries 14 days prior to travel. Exceptions are in place for journalists, humanitarian travel, public health issues and national security.

This week, the International Air Transport Association estimated the industry would post sector-wide revenue of about $328 billion, about 60% lower than last year.

"This crisis is devastating and implacable," IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac said in a statement.

Last week, United Airlines said it expected air travel to decline by “at least” 55% in the fourth quarter compared with the same period in 2019. For British Airways, the situation is so bad that it starting selling items like slippers and beverage carts to the public.

While generating revenue, that move was also a way for the airline to clear out warehouses building up with goods because of limits to seating and cabin service.

Reuters reported the consideration of lifting some travel restrictions got the blessing of the White House task force working to address the pandemic. But on Wednesday, a report found the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised against traveling unless it’s absolutely essential.

At best, U.S. citizens can travel internationally provided they have a negative test for COVID-19 within 72 hours of entry or self-quarantine for 14 days.

Airport authorities said the weekend before Thanksgiving saw the most fliers since the outbreak of the pandemic in March Airport authorities said the weekend before Thanksgiving saw the most fliers since the outbreak of the pandemic in March Photo: AFP / Kena Betancur