FAMILIES WILL be delighted to read today that the US Government have opened up travel to visitors from Ireland, Britain and several other countries, so long as they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
Restrictions were originally introduced a year and a half ago when the pandemic first hit, and which prevented non-US citizens who had been abroad within 14 days of travel from entry into the country.
This latest news will be welcomed by Irish families and Irish people living in the US, which still has one of the largest Irish diasporas in the world.
It will also be a major boon to airlines operating on transatlantic routes, whose businesses have often struggled during the pandemic to remain financially tenable.
Speaking with RTÉ earlier today, Aer Lingus’s chief operating officer Peter O’Neill described the announcement as an important one, not only for the Irish aviation industry, but for tourism in general.
He said that Aer Lingus are running two flights to New York today, one to Chicago, and one to Austin, Texas.
This will be followed in the coming weeks by reintroducing flight routes to Newark in the state of New Jersey, Orlando, Florida, and San Francisco.
Mr O’Neill said that he expects the airline to face a busy period coming into the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but that there were still challenges which needed to be addressed with regards managing vaccinations and restrictions across different jurisdictions.
Remaining hopeful, Mr O’Neill also said that airline is projecting a return to capacity of 80% on 2019 levels by March 2022 and, if things continue to open up between countries, to increase to 90% by summer 2022.
Travel from the US to Europe had been possible up until today, though some foreign US residents holding certain visas from particular countries had no guarantee of being able to re-enter their home country.
Lifting the travel ban will affect those travelling from more than 30 countries.