UK & Ireland Added To US Travel Ban By Trump

In a surprising reversal, the US has opted to add the UK and Ireland to its travel ban from Europe. The original ban, announced Wednesday, excluded the two countries based on their assumed containment of the virus. The updated ban will go into effect Monday night, with US citizens and permanent residents exempt.

Norwegian's 787 Dreamliner
The ban will hit low-cost carriers like Norwegian the hardest. Photo: David Dyson for Norwegian Air Shuttle via Wikimedia Commons

Bound to hit airlines hard

The move will affect British and Irish carriers heavily, putting them in the same boat as other European carriers. The most vulnerable carrier seems to be Norwegian Air, which has seen 40% of its widebody fleet grounded and has requested state aid.

Only two days ago Norwegian announced that is was cutting 4,000 flights and plans to layoff up to 50% of its staff. Long-haul, low-cost routes to the US from all over Europe make up an important part of the airline’s market. The airline flies 11 routes to the US from its London Gatwick hub. These routes could now be in jeopardy.

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The ban has not just affected low-cost carriers. British Airways has said the outbreak is the worst it has ever experienced and has warned of more flight cancellations and layoffs, saying it is fighting for survival. The last few weeks have seen the carrier cancel hundreds of daily flights to destinations all over the world. The updated ban by the United States will force the airline to cancel dozens of daily flights to the US which makes up a large portion of the airline’s profit.

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The UK is in the same boat as Europe now

The original announcement of the ban was met with a sigh of relief by the UK aviation industry. The US market is one of the most profitable, with dozens of daily transatlantic flights attracting high-paying customers. On the other hand, European carriers scrambled to make adjustments to their routes and cancel more flights.

British Airways, Airbus A380
The updated ban might force BA to ground its A380, many of which operate service to the US. Photo: Getty Images

Now, with a level playing field, we might see the UK suffer more. British Airways’ London to New York route famously generates $1bn of revenue per year. With routes like this, and many more affected for the foreseeable future, airlines will see a precipitous drop in revenues.

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We might see British Airways file for government aid, just as Lufthansa has, and ground more aircraft. One of the grounded aircraft might be the A380, which BA uses to service many cities in the US such as Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco. The A380 has been one of the first fatalities due to reduced demand.

Overall

The US’ decision to amend the plan is not a shocking one given the current circumstances. However, it will have outsized consequences for airlines and travellers in the UK as well as in the US. The shock announcement on Wednesday has caused travellers to frantically find ways back to the US before the ban came into effect. There will be similar scenes expected in the UK from today through Monday.

Flybe aircraft
Flybe was one of the first airlines to fall in the current climate. Photo: Flybe

The next few weeks will be very interesting for Norwegian. Norwegian has been in a precarious position for months now, and the US ban might be the final nail in the coffin for the embattled carrier. Moreover, we might even see British Airways take drastic measures to survive, which could include requests for help from the government, job cuts, and significant grounding of its fleet.

This is a breaking story and will be updated with more information soon. 

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JFP

Not surprised. When this is over, I can’t wait to see how many countries reject resumption of services by U.S.-flag carriers. I doubt that there are very few developed economies that “need” tourism or other leisure travel.

John

Norwegian is toast at this point. So much of their long haul operations is to the US.

Louis

b****r – due to fly LHR-SJO via MIA with American on Friday – going to explore alternatives so as not to miss out on or Costa Rica trip, flying through YYZ looks like a good possible alternative.

Norm

The EU should also Block US carriers from touching European soil,,

Gary

All US military flights and military personnel should also be banned from entering all these countries.
They have over 800 bases across the world and could easy spread the virus where ever they go.

Jay Deshpande

I really feel bad for airlines. I know that this wasn’t a surprising decision taken by the US, but it certainly will have a knock on effect on many airlines

Gary

I support the travel restrictions that have been implemented , the restriction of international cross border travel. In order of trying to control the spreading off the virus , slowing down the rate of infection . We don’t know how long it is to going to take to get a hold on + get the virus under control. I myself don’t think that it will be under control by April as is the thinking of a lot of reports. I think we ‘re in it for an extended period of time ,July.
This is going to seriously affect the airline industry.

Gary

David C you say that the COVID-19 virsus can’t survive at temperatures 28 deg+ . How do you know this, are you sure of this statement? This is the 1st time I have read this , bizarre what with the constant media information about COVID-19 that it hasn’t been reported about???
Hmmm.

Louis

David C thanks for reply, I had heard the 28C figure, but on an FB post so wasn’t sure. I have been pleased until now the UK Govt hasn’t gone into panic mode, but given the stance Govts roundthe world are taking I think they need some decisive travel guidance to support us make the right decision and not have insurers turn round and say its our problem if we cancel as Govt say still safe. See what you mean about Canada looking to reduce foreign travellors – appreciate heads up :D.