Travel industry urges Biden to set health passport standards, plan to lift international travel bans


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COVID-19 vaccination record card issued by the Centers for Disease Control
Bill Clark | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

U.S. airlines and more than two-dozen other industry groups on Monday urged the Biden administration to form a plan by May to lift international travel restrictions after cross-border travel was devastated in the pandemic.

Airlines for America, which represents major U.S. airlines like American, United, Southwest and others, sent a letter to Jeffrey Zients, the White House’s Covid-19 response team coordinator, saying the guidelines should exempt vaccinated people from international testing rules, among other recommendations.

Most non-U.S. citizens who have recently been in Europe have been banned from entering the U.S. since last March, when then-President Donald Trump instituted the rules as Covid-19 was spreading around the world.

In the meantime, airlines and officials have been looking at ways to use digital vaccine or health passports to help spur travel and eventually replace travel restrictions. The European Union last week proposed a digital health certificate with a QR code that contains vaccine and Covid-19 test results.

Delta Air Lines‘ CEO Ed Bastian last week told NBC Nightly News that he expects digital vaccine passports will be required for international travel.

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