Icelandair CEO Welcomes US Plans to Lift Travel Ban

Vala Hafstað

Bogi Nils Bogason, CEO of Icelandair, welcomes the statement issued by US authorities yesterday, announcing plans to lift a travel ban on all fully COVID-19 vaccinated travelers to the US from around the world in November, Morgunblaðið reports. Travelers will be required to present the negative result of a coronavirus test, taken no more than 72 hours prior to departure.

Bogi Nils calls news of the decision “revolutionary.” “If this goes through, it represents a very positive and important step for us and our business model,” he states. “Then, the system as a whole will be running. The US market is essential to us, both from Iceland and not least from Europe, since we work with this connecting model.”

Icelandair has maintained air transport between the US and Iceland throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but for a while, that service was limited to Boston only. For the past months, there has been scheduled service to additional destinations in the US, as the numbers of US tourists in Iceland have risen.

Bogi Nils states that Icelandair has had a fairly extensive flight schedule to the US and that the airline will have to see how demand picks up. A great deal of flexibility is needed, he notes, in terms of adding flights and destinations in response to market demand.

“Throughout this situation and this time period, we’ve been getting inquiries regarding when we think the US will open up again and when Icelanders will be able to travel. Likewise, we’ve received inquiries from our customers in Europe. There is strong interest, many inquiries and some bookings.”

Morgunblaðið reports it is not clear whether vaccines that have not been authorized in the US will be accepted. The use of face masks on board all flights to the US will be mandatory.

At first, it appeared the travel ban would only be lifted for vaccinated travelers from the European Union and the UK, but then it turned out to include vaccinated travelers from all over the world. A travel ban to the US has been in effect for about a year and a half. 

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