HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — Starting January 26, per the CDC’s order, airlines will require a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of a scheduled flight for travelers entering America.
“That also applies for commercial flights inbound to the U.S., but also for private flights,” José Mulet, director of air service and business development at Valley International Airport (VIA) said.
Due to travel restrictions, Mulet says VIA has seen an increase of Mexican citizens arriving on their own planes.
“The border is closed to drive in, but you can still fly in,” he said.
In this case, they wouldn’t turn in the test to an airline, but if they don’t have it upon landing will be sent back.
“When you arrive, you’re going to go straight to Customs and the U.S. Customs agents are going to ask you for that test,” Mulet said.
Apart from private flyers from Mexico, there are two other primary types of international travelers.
“We have a lot of bird watchers who come from Europe this time of the year and local Rio Grande Valley folks who travel to Mexico for vacation,” Mulet said. “Returning from Mexico, that’s when they’re going to be required to have that test.”
While it will be an adjustment, he says airlines can lean into technology to help streamline the process.
“Thank God for the computer systems, phones, the applications —the apps, every airline has their own app —they can send info to the passengers very quickly,” he said.
Even people who have been vaccinated must still present a negative test.