IATA & ACI call for consistent approach to COVID-19 testing


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 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 two organisations state that a systematic approach to COVID-19 testing will provide an effective way to give governments the confidence to reopen borders without quarantine.

During the past few months, the aviation industry 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.

ACI and IATA have 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,” 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 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.”

According to IATA & ACI, to give governments and travellers the confidence to reopen borders and travel, testing needs to be:

  • Fast – results should be delivered quickly, within 20 minutes;
  • Accurate – with very low rates of false negatives;
  • Easy to use ­– avoiding the need for specialist technicians and equipment;
  • Scalable – to meet demand without delaying the travel process;
  • Affordable ­– cost-effective and not add a barrier to travel.

FTE recently spoke to Céline Canu, Head of Passenger Process & Facilitation, IATA, to find out more about the association’s views on restoring passenger confidence and the importance of COVID-19 testing. Read the full interview here

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