Stock Groups

Omicron clouds outlook for international travel that was just turning a corner

One passenger arrives at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. This is as the countries are reacting to Omicron’s new variant of coronavirus Omicron amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Washington. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Carlos Barria | Reuters

Spreading the Covid-19 variant of the micron omicron could delay travel industry recovery. This is a new challenge after international tourism rebounded from a slump that lasted 20 months.

South African scientists first identified the variant last week. first U.S. case confirmedOn Wednesday in California, a host of new travel restrictions were announced. This surprised many people, and left some travelers stranded. Some countries have temporarily banned flights from certain regions.

The U.S. announced Thursday that inbound international travellers, including American citizens will need to present proof of negative Covid testing within one day of their departure. This can be up to three days for those who have been vaccinated and it does not matter what vaccination status they are.

Aviation executives believe that the variant will not affect demand.

“We’ve had higher cancellations, but it’s too soon to know,” United AirlinesAfter a flight in which one of its planes was powered by sustainably-derived aviation fuel, Scott Kirby, CEO, spoke to reporters on Thursday. Kirby stated that he does not expect bookings will fall as dramatically as for the Delta variant.

He said, “The next peak would be at a higher degree.”

General ElectricJohn Slattery, Aviation CEO, stated that airline customers still plan for “a strong Spring and strong Summer.”

Lower forecasts

Slattery stated that “my hope is for the governments all over the world to support an open-border policy and philosophy,” he said at the United Nations event.

Still, Fitch Ratings on Tuesday lowered its outlook for global air traffic this year to just over half of 2019 levels, down from a previous forecast of a 35% drop, and cut its outlook for 2022 and 2023, noting “new, highly contagious variants, such as Omicron, highlight the likelihood operating conditions remain volatile and the downside risk to forecasts.”

Japan, Israel, Morocco and Morocco have some of the toughest restrictions, barring all foreigners temporarily. After lifting a ban that had been in place for several weeks, the U.K. has now required PCR Covid checks on all international visitors. The U.S. also began barring South Africa, Lesotho and Eswatini visitors, as well as visitors from Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia.

Henry Harteveldt is a former airline executive who founded the travel-industry consulting company Atmosphere Research Group.

Last-minute cancellations

This variant already has a negative effect on some business travel. Another segment of domestic leisure travel was affected by the pandemic. London Bullion Market Association cancelled its Wednesday black tie dinner for precious metals traders, and other members of the industry.

The association stated on its website that “this decision was made due to tightening COVID-19 regulations in the UK as well as around the globe following the discovery and subsequent testing and quarantine requirements.” This decision was not taken lightly, and we believe it is best for all participants given current circumstances.

Last week, the International Broadcasting Convention cancelled its Amsterdam-based event that had been scheduled for December 3rd to 6 in person.

The IBC Partnership Board stated, “The decision follows growing concerns over The Netherlands’ COVID-19 status, which has deteriorated, as well as feedback from IBC visitors and exhibitors.” The IBC Partnership Board has taken the necessary steps to block visitors and exhibitors from visiting The Netherlands.

U.S. travel is doing better than international, and U.S. airlines had their busiest day since the outbreak. According to Google, searches for domestic flights in the United States have increased 21% compared with a week earlier. However, international travel from the United States is flat. Kayak.

Network carriers like Delta, AmericanUnited was the U.S. airline most dependent on international travel. It had noticed a spike in bookings for overseas trips after United declared in the fall it would remove travel restrictions. United launched its non-stop flight to Cape Town in South Africa from Newark on Wednesday.

Mike Robinson
Mike covers the financial, utilities and biotechnology sectors for Street Register. He has been writing about investment and personal finance topics for almost 12 years. Mike has an MBA in Finance from Wake Forest University.