The Biden administration is lifting its requirement that international travelers test negative for coronavirus before flying to the U.S., amid pressure from airlines that viewed the measure as excessive and blamed it for depressing ticket purchases.
The change will take effect just after midnight on June 12 and be reassessed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 90 days, according to a senior administration official who requested anonymity to detail the plan before it was formally announced.
Under existing policy, international travelers flying to the U.S. are required to present proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within a day of their departure flight to the U.S.
The health agency may decide to reinstate the requirement if a new, concerning variant of the virus emerges, the official said. The administration will continue to recommend testing prior to air travel, but believes that coronavirus vaccines and new treatments made it possible to ease the requirement.
Airline stocks climbed on the news, with an S&P index of carriers reversing early losses to rise less than 1% at 9:40 a.m. in New York. American Airlines Group Inc. rose 1.8%, United Airlines Holdings Inc. climbed 1% and Delta Air Lines Inc. turned slightly positive.
Top airline executives have said in recent weeks that flyers were concerned about booking international travel only to become stranded in foreign countries. While domestic airline ticket purchases have largely rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, international trips have not.©2022 Bloomberg L.P. Visit bloomberg.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.