Airports Council International (ACI) World and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have made a joint call for a globally-consistent approach to testing international passengers as an alternative to quarantine measures.
The global shut down of air transport as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions has had a catastrophic impact on employment. Some 4.8 million industry jobs have been lost or are under threat.
IATA said governments must cooperate to remove quarantine restrictions and restart air travel. A systematic approach to COVID-19 testing would provide an effective way to give governments the confidence to re-open borders without quarantine.
The aviation industry, focused on the health and safety of passengers and their employees, has worked with the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s Council Aviation Recovery Taskforce (CART), which included the World Health Organization, to agree and implement a layered approach to health measures that will enable safe operations amid the COVID-19 crisis.
As the CART reconvenes this week ACI and IATA emphasised that a systematic approach to testing must be the key focus. Both associations called for an internationally agreed and recognised approach to testing passengers during the travel process that is fast, practical, accurate, low-cost, easy-to-use and supported by public health authorities.
“Airports and airlines are united in the view that a consistent approach to testing passengers will help to restore the confidence of passengers, avoid border closures, and remove cumbersome quarantine measures which are hampering the genuine efforts of the aviation industry to recover,” ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said.
“This will better foster recovery among airports, airlines and the travel and tourism sectors, thereby protecting jobs and providing the economic and social benefits that aviation delivers to the local, national, and global communities it serves.”
IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said borders must be reopened without quarantine.
“Systematic testing is the key to restoring connectivity,” said de Juniac.
“That’s critical because millions of jobs depend aviation. And millions more travelers want and need to reconnect with family, take a hard-earned vacation or support their international business needs. We must learn to live with this disease and that includes safely restoring the freedom to travel. Already we have measures in place to ensure safe journeys through ICAO’s CART recommendations.
“And trials around the world are helping us to demonstrate that we have effective testing technology that can be efficiently integrated into the travel process. We count on ICAO’s leadership to bring governments into agreement on an implementation plan so that aviation can reconnect people and economies. We need to do this with speed. Each day of delay puts more jobs at risk.”