The White House announced updates to COVID restrictions around international travel Monday, the latest in a slew of changes to COVID requirements that have drawn praise and scorn. The move could send airline ticket prices higher as European travelers will now be welcome – provided they are are vaccinated.
At present, airline tickets to/from Europe are the cheapest they’ve been in years – roughly $500-$600 per flight. But, those fares are expected to move higher now that Europeans will begin traveling to the U.S. In recent weeks, analysts have pointed to the pent-up demand from vaccinated Europeans, suggesting that they will travel to the U.S. once the proper clearance was allowed.
The Biden administration says it will now allow non-citizens to fly to the U.S. from certain places, like the European Union and the United Kingdom. All entrees must be vaccinated to come to the U.S.
The changes, which take effect in November, signal the Biden Administration’s insistence on vaccination going forward.
The opening of travel to Europeans is certainly welcomed news by the travel industry. Nonetheless, investors remained unconvinced in Tuesday’s trading. The Global Jets ETF (JETS) traded down nearly 1%. The American Airlines Group (AAL) was off almost 3%. Delta Airlines (DAL) lost 1% and United Airlines Holdings UAL traded down 1.7%.
Meanwhile, some of Biden’s other changes to COVID requirements have been more controversial.
Biden announced earlier this month that all employers with more than 100 workers must ensure their employees are vaccinated. All federal employees and government contractors must also be vaccinated.
“It’s going to take some time,” Biden said, making clear that hi changes would affect about 100 million Americans. “Many of us are frustrated with the nearly 80 million Americans who are not yet vaccinated even though the vaccine is safe, effective and free.”
That position, however, has drawn serious fire to Biden by opponents who say it is government gone too far.
About 30 governors have announced their opposition to the mandate, and recent polling shows Americans support those governors.
Convention of States Action released recent polling reporting that 58.6% of those surveyed “do not believe President Biden has the constitutional authority to force private businesses to require vaccine mandates for employees.”
Biden, though, has held his ground so far. Whether new mandates will be enacted remains to be seen.
“Not every conversation will end in a vaccination right away, and that’s okay,” Surgeon General Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy said in a White House briefing over the weekend. “What matters is that we help people connect to accurate, science-based information that they can trust. And all along the way, we have to let them know that their questions matter as we approach them with dignity and respect. That’s the approach that will help us accelerate the path out of this pandemic.”