The new administration of President Biden is facing a blizzard of troubles left over from the previous administration as it begins its term. The economy is in shambles, the Covid vaccine roll-outs have proven to be slower than many predicted several months ago, and there was turmoil in Washington around the Capitol in January. In many ways Biden risks being overwhelmed by the depth of the troubles.
The Biden administration immediately put stricter travel regulations for people coming into the United States with mandatory quarantines and Covid testing requirements. There was talk of mandating that all passengers taking airplane flights inside the United States take a Covid test before flying in order to halt the spread of the virus.
That talk has now seemed to have a hit a wall after a meeting with top airline executives and Biden administration Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigiege and several members of the CDC took place over zoom last Friday.
Among those attending were the CEOs of American, United, Southwest, Alaska, and JetBlue along with airline union leaders.
“We had a very positive, constructive conversation focused on our shared commitment to science-based policies as we work together to end the pandemic, restore air travel and lead our nation toward recovery,” Nick Calio, head of the trade group Airlines for America, said after the meeting.
A leader of the Southwest Airlines pilots’ union also said that a testing mandate “would decimate domestic air travel demand, put aviation jobs at risk, and create serious unintended consequences.”
No changes after this meeting took place and it now seems unlikely that further testing mandates will be demanded for internal domestic travel. The situation for incoming international travel into the US remains the same with the following CDC guidance: “All air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board a flight to the United States.”
United Airlines (NASDAQ: UAL), however just launched Covid testing access integrated with an App as part of its passenger operations as reported by CBS.
Apps increasingly are becoming the key mechanism for corporations to market to Americans and to monitor them, with many of them finding comfort in having the phone with them at all times.