In an effort to help the aviation industry recover, 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 for SARS-CoV- 2 as an alternative to quarantine measures.
The global shutdown of air transport as a result of Covid-19 travel restrictions has impacted employment in the sector, with some 4.8 million industry jobs lost or under threat, according to IATA.
ACI and IATA say that governments must cooperate to remove quarantine restrictions and restart air travel, with a systematic approach to Covid-19 testing providing 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 Organization’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 reconvened last week, ACI and IATA emphasised that a systematic approach to testing must be the key focus. Both associations call 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,” said ACI World’s director general, Luis Felipe de Oliveira. “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 added that 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 on aviation. And millions more travellers 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.”