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Travel Suspended Between U.S. and 26 European Nations
In an Oval Office address to the nation on March 11, U.S. President Donald Trump announced the suspension of travel between the U.S. and Europe for 30 days in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. The new travel restrictions will go into effect on Friday at midnight. The new restriction on travel does not include the U.K., which is no longer a member state of the European Union.
The new restrictions apply to most foreign nationals who have been in the Schengen area in the last 14 days according to the Department of Homeland Security. The travel restriction does not apply to permanent U.S. residents and immediate family members of U.S. citizens.
All affected nations are members of the Schengen area. Schengen is a collection of countries on mainland Europe where there are no border or passport checks. This includes 26 European states: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
American Airlines confirmed to AirlineGeeks that this new directive will impact approximately 14 to 15 daily flights to seven airports in five countries within the Schengen area including France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland. Flights affected are scheduled to depart from multiple U.S. hubs including Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, New York JFK, Philadelphia and Charlotte.
The airline said: “We are in contact with the federal government to understand and comply with this directive. The health and safety of our customers and team members remain our highest priority.”
Delta Air Lines released a similar statement to American, saying: “Delta has and will continue to quickly make adjustments to service, as needed, in response to government travel directives.”
The directive issued by the U.S. government does not restrict aircraft registered in the listed nations from entering U.S. airspace, but crews, in addition to passengers, from the 26 nations listed would not be let in the country. This could create a logistical nightmare for airlines and may lead to route suspensions.
As of midnight on March 12, no airlines have formally announced any changes to European flight schedules as a result of the new restrictions, however, this is expected to soon change.
British Airways is suspending its famed Airbus A318 BA1/2 service between New York-JFK and London City as of March 25. The service is scheduled to resume on Sept. 1, 2020, but this date is subject to change.
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