• A coalition of travel industry groups asked the Biden administration to loosen testing requirements for international travel. 
  • In a letter, the group claimed pre-departure COVID-19 testing is discouraging travel.
  • The group argued restrictions are no longer justified due to disease pervasiveness and vaccination rates.

A group of 29 major airlines and industry participants are urging the Biden administration to remove pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirements for vaccinated travelers to the US.

The group said in a letter addressed to White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients that the recovery of travel and aviation is dependent on the US government taking steps toward removing restrictions “that are no longer justified by current circumstances.”

“Doing so is justified by the pervasiveness of COVID cases in all 50 states, increased immunity and higher vaccination rates as well as new treatments,” said the coalition, which includes the US Chamber of Commerce, the International Air Transport Association, the Aerospace Industries Association, the US Travel Association, and the trade association Airlines for America, which represents major airlines like American Airlines, Delta and United.

“Surveys of air passengers indicate that pre-departure testing is a leading factor in the decision not to travel internationally,” the group said in the letter. “People simply are unwilling to take the chance that they will be unable to return to the US at the end of their business trip or vacation.”

The group did not offer specific survey or poll information to back up its claims. 

It did cite a European Union recommendation for member countries to remove travel restrictions within Europe and the UK’s recent announcement that it would drop pre-departure testing for vaccinated travelers from February 11.

The US put in place rules requiring inbound air passengers — including US citizens — to show proof of negative COVID-19 tests from January 2021. Passengers now have to show negative results from a test taken a day before departure from an international location.

The White House did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.  

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