Will Trump Ban Domestic Flights?
According to several sources, President Trump is considering the possibility of banning all domestic flights in the United States.
Trump imposed a broad ban on foreign visitors from 26 European countries last week, which was expanded to include the U.K. and Ireland shortly thereafter. Trump also advised Americans to avoid “discretionary travel’’ for the next fifteen days as part of new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines announced Monday to curtail the spread of the virus.
Now, the President is getting advice that he contemplates what many consider unthinkable; grounding all domestic commercial flights. Domestic air travel bans are being done in some form in many other countries already (e.g. Egypt, Iraq, and Philippines.)
The proposal follows logic in several areas. First of all, we know that China’s handling of the novel virus COVID-19 in Wuhan and the Hubei province involved a total lockdown. The UN recently commended China for their efforts proving that their strategy “has demonstrated that the course of the outbreak can be altered. Normally, an outbreak of this nature would have exponential growth, would reach a high peak, and would then decline naturally once all susceptible people have been infected, or developed the disease. This has not happened in China in a number of ways,” according to WHO Representative in the country, Dr. Gauden Galea.
We know that in the weeks before President Trump announced restrictions on travelers from more than two dozen countries in Europe, thousands of people from the region already had stepped off planes at U.S. airports, and an untold number of them carried the coronavirus.
Now the government hopes to close the barn doors; although the horse has already left. At this point, the decision to close restaurants, bars, large gatherings and events demonstrates a desire to curtail as much movement and congregation as possible within the nation. Banning domestic air travel is a rational next step. It makes sense from a logical perspective; recently Midway airport had a ground stop – three FAA technicians were diagnosed with COVID-19 and the airport shut down to sanitize; leaving it unable to function temporarily. What happens if air traffic controllers in an airport become infected? What about TSA agents? The TSA now maintains a website showing potentially infected agents. Will the airport be forced to close? Perhaps banning domestic flights solves that problem.
If the government were to force the airlines to ground all their aircraft, financial assistance would be expected by the airline carriers. That would certainly mean the government would have to help the airline industry survive in the coronavirus pandemic’s aftermath. Every major industry is lining up and asking the government for a bailout package. That practice is something that unfortunately became common during the recession of 2008.
It has been said the CEO’s of the major airlines have already been contacted by the government and there have been discussions on just how the shutdown would be implemented. Perhaps it’s just a matter of time until Trump bans domestic flights. A major concern would be to provide the public enough early warning to get back home before a total ban is in effect. All of the major airlines have already announced drastic cuts to their schedules in an effort to save cash.
“We continue to look at all options and all options remain on the table,” stated Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security in White House press briefing when asked about the possibility of banning domestic air travel.
It is said that cargo flights, such as FedEx and UPS would be allowed to continue to keep the nation’s supply chains and imports and exports flowing.
We know the world has changed in just a matter of weeks. Now governments and industry leaders are trying to develop strategies to stop the spread of the coronavirus in its tracks.
Perhaps President Trump will ban all domestic flights in another effort to limit social interactions in the public world.
How this would happen and when is still to be determined. Certainly the likelihood of this action looks more probable as each days passes. At the same time, the world waits for the epidemiological experts to identify and manufacture a vaccine to prevent people from contracting the disease.
Do you think Trump will ban domestic flights? What are your thoughts and will we see it happen globally?
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