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A British Airways 747 in Las Vegas (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

U.S. Travel Ban Extended to the U.K. and Ireland

President Donald Trump confirmed at a news conference on Saturday, March 14, that the current travel ban restricting flights from the European Union will now include the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The travel ban now affecting the U.K. and Ireland will take effect from 4:00 a.m. (UK time) on Tuesday, March 17. The original travel ban affected flights departing from 26 European countries, specifically the Schengen Area, a group of countries that share land borders with freedom of movement across both directions.

“We’re looking at it very seriously, yeah, because they’ve had a little bit of activity, unfortunately, so we’re gonna be looking at that, we are actually already have looked at it and that is going to be announced,” Trump said at a White House press conference.

Vice President Mike Pence later followed up confirming the ban would be in effect from Monday night, but added that Americans and U.S. residents currently in Europe would still be able to return home, once completing the screening process now set up within the United States.

Following the announcement last week of restricted travel from the original 26 countries, the President said the U.K. and Irish exemption was based on advice from “a group of professionals” but would be constantly reviewed. The decision to now includes the U.K. follows the announcement that the number of confirmed cases within the U.K. has risen to more than 1,000.

The European Union reacted to the ban last week with anger and confusion and accused the President of deciding “without consultation.”

The news will cement fears for all major carriers on both sides of the Atlantic who heavily rely on the demand for seats between the two continents. According to IATA, flights between Europe and the U.S. bring $20.6 billion in revenue last year, with around 200,000 yearly flights between the U.S. and the Schengen Area.

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