An Airbus A330neo or A330-900 from Delta Air Lines with Neo engine option from the European aircraft manufacturer, as seen on the final approach at Amsterdam Schiphol AMS EHAM after a long-haul transatlantic flight.
Nicolas Economou | NurPhoto | Getty Images
Are you hoping to have a European vacation this summer? You may be out of luck.
In much of Europe, the borders for most US citizens have been closed for more than a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, and vice versa. Airline executives said Thursday they didn’t expect it to open in time for midsummer time.
Have travel guides pressed the Biden administration for a plan to reopen the borders, including standards for health documentation such as evidence of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian said on a quarterly call that the company is focused on lifting restrictions that have hampered travel between the US and the UK, but that other popular tourist destinations may take longer.
The White House did not respond immediately.
UK this week eased the lockdown Restrictions allowing pubs, hairdressers, and retail stores to reopen. France and Italy, however, were temporarily reinstated Lock last month to curb new Covid-19 infections and vaccine distribution was made slowly across Europe.
“When you think of other parts of Europe, there may be occasional markets opening this summer based on leisure traffic in the southern Mediterranean that people will be interested in,” Bastian said on the conference call. “But I don’t think continental Europe will open in any meaningful way until later in the year. We’re likely to miss out on much of the summer for most of continental Europe, unfortunately.”
Delta and rivals like American Airlines and United Airlines Domestic travel has bounced back sharply from the depths of the pandemic, but international travel, which continues to face a web of entry restrictions and delays in vaccinations, remains weak.
Delta announced Thursday that domestic passenger revenue in the first quarter was 66% lower than the same period in 2019 to $ 2.3 billion. However, transatlantic sales were 87% lower at $ 142 million, while trans-Pacific sales were down 89% at $ 62 million.
American airlines have geared their once-extensive global networks to domestic destinations, especially those that offer outdoor attractions such as Beaches and mountains. The airlines have expanded tourist hotspots in Florida, Wyoming, and Montana. You’ve also seen a surge in demand for beach destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico.
For example, American Airlines announced on Wednesday that it would update its domestic flight schedule for the summer almost the same levels as it operated in 2019.
Brian Znotins, vice president of network planning for American Airlines, told CNBC that even if the borders open in the coming season, demand for European summer vacation will be hard to generate.
“Usually a European vacation is planned months in advance,” he said. “If people are going to go on a trip this summer, which a lot of people are, they are not very confident about booking a trip to Rome and so they will make that hotel reservation in Jackson Loch or Honolulu or Cancun.”
“You don’t expect demand to show up until the day after a country opens, especially from a leisure perspective,” he said.