Most US Airports Still Can’t Accept Flights From Other International Destinations

Most US Airports Still Can’t Accept Flights From Other International Destinations

Airports 2020-09-10
Most US Airports still aren’t accepting flights from other destinations because they want to help prevent the spread of travel-related cases of coronavirus. Chad F. Wolf, DHS Acting Secretary, issued a Notice of Arrival Restrictions on March 13th, which outlines the process for legal permanent residents, their immediate families, and other American citizens who are returning home after recently visiting certain countries before the pandemic. So, if you’re planning for future travel, it’s important to become aware of the new regulations and processes of different airlines. Here are the reasons why most airports still can accept flights from travel ban destinations:

Outdated Travel Bans of the United States

As mentioned earlier, Chad F, Wolf, issued a Notice of Arrival Restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are the travel bans they’ve introduced during that time:
  • A China travel ban was introduced in early February
  • A European travel ban was issued in mid-March
  • The European travel ban was extended to Ireland and the United Kingdom after a few days
  • A Brazil travel ban was issued in late May
These bans are applicable to anyone who has been in one of those countries within the past 2 weeks, with the exception of U.S. citizens and their family members. Travel bans are a great choice to protect passengers and prevent the spread of the virus. However, the bans haven’t been adjusted since their issuance. The European travel ban has been in place for almost 6 months, while the China travel ban has already been in place for 7 months. Most countries have controlled the spread of the coronavirus already. So, maybe the travel bans should be updated, too, to reflect the current circumstances. It may not make any sense if Germany has a travel ban, but not Peru, Russia, or Columbia, right?

15 US Airports are Approved for International Flights

The United States added restrictions on which airports could handle selected international flights in mid-March. These restrictions were implemented around the same time the European travel ban was introduced. With these regulations, American citizens who are returning from any country listed above should only fly to any of the 15 approved airports, which include:
  • Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), Massachusetts
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas
  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii
  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), Florida
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), Texas
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York
  • Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX), California
  • Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington
  • Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia
The plan was to position CDC officials on these airports, so that the screening of arriving passengers will become more strict and effective.

Some airports are not included

Several of the country’s highest traffic airports are not included on the list, considering that there are 15 approved airports in it. They are:
  • Orlando
  • Phoenix
  • Denver
  • Las Vegas
  • Denver
These air transportation terminals are domestic hubs, which is how they gather most of their traffic. So, this may be the reason why they aren’t approved. But Philadelphia, which is one of the busiest airports in the United States is not included on the list. The Philadelphia airport management is not very satisfied about the decision. They handle more than 4,600 flights to 22 international and domestic destinations, which may make them wonder why the airport is excluded on the list. Another thing is that the federal government hasn’t answered this issue and didn’t provide more information about what’s needed to get approved. This makes planning for both airports and airlines extremely hard:
  • American Airlines can’t operate any transatlantic flights out of its hubs in Philadelphia and Charlotte until the exclusion is removed
  • Lufthansa was about to resume its Philadelphia flights, too. However, because of the exclusion, the flights are pushed back again to the end of October.
  • British Airways will resume its London to Philadelphia flights on October 1. But, the flights are pushed back as well, and may only continue if Philadelphia airport is added onto the list.

Final Thoughts

As of today, only 15 airports are approved to accept flights from destinations on the travel ban list. This regulation has been placed for over 6 months now, and nothing has changed. Since there’s no clear guidelines on how other airports can be added on the list, it poses a major problem for both airlines and airports as they resume their flights. These are just some of the circumstances that you should be aware of, especially if you’re planning to book a flight in or out of the country.