The US State Department has taken extraordinary steps as a result of the “global impact of COVID-19,” advising US citizens to avoid all international travel and those abroad to return home immediately.
The State Department’s March 19 travel advisory said US citizens outside the country who live in the US should arrange for an immediate return “unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.”
“Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice,” the State Department advisory said.
“Airlines have canceled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe.”
The advisory came as US airlines scaled back international flying to a bare minimum and the Trump administration proposed sending US airlines $50 billion in secured loans.
In a joint letter sent to US government leaders on March 19, trade groups and unions representing airlines, airports and commercial aviation workers said net bookings “for the next few months” are down 100-200%. The groups said the US commercial aviation industry will collapse absent immediate and substantial aid from the federal government.
“We now face legitimate liquidity concerns and questions about our ability to meet ongoing debt obligations,” the groups said.
“This crisis hit a previously robust, healthy industry at lighting speed, and the government response needs to be just as swift, in order to save it.”
Photo credit: American Airlines