Cargo escapes US ban on travel from Europe

By Damian Brett

The White House has clarified that cargo is not included in the US ban on travel from Europe announced as part of efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Yesterday, US president Donald Trump announced an unprecedented travel ban from most of Europe to the US would begin at the end of this week.

Initially, the president had indicated that the ban would also “apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo”.

However, the White House later clarified that the ban only applies to the movement of human beings, not goods or cargo.

The UK, Ireland and other non-Schengen countries are unaffected.

However, the move is still likely to have an impact on air cargo movements between the US and Europe.

It appears likely that the move will result in passenger airlines reducing services and therefore removing bellyhold cargo capacity from the market.

However, it is not likely to have the same impact on the cargo market as that of the cancellation of services to/from China, given the lower levels of demand on the transatlantic.

Also flights are likely to continue to some extent, catering for nationals from the US and unaffected countries.

Air Cargo News sister title FlightGlobal said the the move seems certain to upend, if not outright freeze, air travel between the US and continental Europe, a market with some 560 flights daily, according to Cirium schedules data.

The ban will last 30 days and will come into place on March 13. It applies only to foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries encompassing the Schengen agreement for 14 days before their scheduled arrival in the US.

Nearly 40 airlines were scheduled to operate a combined 560 passenger flights daily, carrying some 160,000 seats, in both directions between the US and continental Europe in the 30 days starting March 13, according to Cirium schedules data.

That equates to nearly 17,000 flights and 4.8m seats in the 30-day period.

European countries with the greatest number of US flights include Germany, France and the Netherlands. Other countries with notable capacity to the US include Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Portugal and Turkey.

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines will be the most-impacted US carriers. Combined, they operate more than 200 daily flights from the USA to Europe.

European carriers most affected stand to be Lufthansa, with about 60 daily US flights, and Air France, with an average of 37.

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