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Could Joe Biden’s first overseas trip as President be a harbinger of good things to come for international air travel?
The White House has been forced to defend Biden’s plans to travel to Cornwall, England in June for the G7 Summit while travel restrictions remain in place for U.S. citizens due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden will be in England from June 11-13, and then attend a NATO meeting in Brussels, Belgium on June 14. The Summit was canceled last year, and The White House is taking criticism for this trip particularly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week said it was more prudent for Americans not to travel overseas.
“Well, I would say I think most Americans would see it as slightly different from the president of the United States – I’m not suggesting you’re saying otherwise – but as a president of the United States making a diplomatic trip, abiding by Covid protocols and flying on Air Force One, than whether it is safe for mass numbers to fly internationally,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
But if the trip is successful from a health standpoint, it could hasten the return of international travel and, perhaps, business travel – two areas that have not been nearly as successful in coming back to life as the airlines would hope.
“Obviously, everybody wants (international travel) to be reopened,” Psaki added. “Europeans, we do, American people who would like to travel … But, you know those conversations are really happening between health and medical experts and they [will] make an evaluation based on what they think is safe for the American public.”
The G7 Summit will be the first face-to-face meeting for the global leaders since the outbreak of the pandemic, including German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron.