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COVID-19: Schengen-US travel ban another blow to airlines

Premium Analysis

On 12-Mar-2020 US President Trump banned entry into the United States by foreign nationals with 14-day prior travel within any of the 26 countries of Europe's Schengen zone (essentially a borderless travel region).

The ban takes effect from midnight (EDT) on 13-Mar-2020. US citizens, legal residents and certain family members will be allowed to enter through 11 approved airports.

The UK and Ireland are the most important trans Atlantic aviation markets not included in the ban. IAG's British Airways and Aer Lingus may possibly benefit from any additional traffic through their hubs in London and Dublin.

The North Atlantic is a very important source of profit for Europe's leading legacy airline groups and their US joint venture partners. Lufthansa Group, Air France-KLM and Norwegian are among those that will continue to operate at least part of their US networks.

US citizens are not included in the ban, so there will be some ongoing demand, but it is unclear whether or not continuing capacity can be filled without citizens from the European side. The possibility of significant numbers of cancellations and service suspensions will surely increase if the ban endures.

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