In the latest developments, the Biden administration is finally ending its pre-departure COVID testing requirement for U.S.-bound international passengers; San Jose gets new trans-Atlantic service next week and United plans a new SFO-Australia route; low-cost European carriers Norse Atlantic and Iceland’s Play begin flying to the U.S.; Hawaiian Airlines adds an Oakland route next week; two low-cost U.S. airlines and one Asian carrier plan Las Vegas flights; JetBlue eyes an expansion of Mint service to another LAX route; study finds 2022 airfare increases at San Francisco aren’t as bad as most other U.S. markets; Spirit Airlines postpones its shareholder vote on Frontier merger; a trial date is set for Justice Department’s challenge of JetBlue/American Northeast Alliance; and Delta starts testing a futuristic new passenger technology at Detroit Metro Airport.
The Biden administration on Friday finally gave the airline and tourism industries the perfect gift for the beginning of the peak summer travel season: an end to the government’s COVID-19 testing requirement for all individuals flying into the U.S. The rule will end at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, June 12, after being in place since January 2021. The mandate had required anyone coming to the U.S. — vaccinated or not, foreigners and U.S. citizens — to get a negative COVID test result no more than 24 hours before boarding their flight, and it had been the target of an industry lobbying campaign for months. That campaign grew more intense as other nations worldwide gradually eased their COVID-related entry requirements. The White House said its decision was based on a determination by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the pre-departure testing was no longer needed, although the agency plans to reevaluate the need for testing every three months and could reinstate the rule if the situation changes.