Europe’s airports are in turmoil as travelers return

In an echo of what American carriers faced as Omicron spread, EasyJet said it had suffered hundreds of cancellations due to the absence of coronavirus-related crews. British Airways is battling staff illnesses but says most of its flights are working as planned.

On Tuesday, Joachim Lundgren, CEO of EasyJet, said he hoped the spike of covid infection would be reduced by now across the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe, but that has not yet happened. “Until that moment in time, we will continue to monitor the situation,” he said.

Nevertheless, the airline flew 94 percent of its planned schedule last week, the highest number of flights operated since 2019, and is confident that it will be able to return to a near pre-epidemic schedule by the summer, Mr. Lungren added.

For American travelers, one of the biggest concerns is the pre-departure coronavirus test needed to return home, which means they think they will be stuck abroad if they test positive. Among the major Western tourist destinations, a holdout to continue the need for a negative test to enter the United States; The Netherlands, Ireland and Jamaica have all recently dropped the requirement.

The U.S. travel industry is pressuring the Biden administration to eliminate both test requirements and its mask mandate for aircraft and other public transportation. The American Society of Travel Advisors, or ASTA, states that the need for in-house testing is the single biggest obstacle to the complete restoration of the international travel system.

On Wednesday, the U.S. government announced that it would extend for another two weeks an order requiring passengers to wear masks on public transport, airports and airports. It does not address the future of pre-arrival test requirements.

Demand for this specialty has grown significantly as a result of recent corporate scandals in Europe. In a recent survey of 1,300 Americans by travel app TripIt, 33 percent of respondents said they would travel abroad by June. Travel booking site Hopper said that in March, 15 percent of international bookings on its site were for travel to the US and Europe, 6 percent less since the attack. In 2019, the United States accounted for 30 percent of international bookings on Europe travel sites.

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