Airports Council International (ACI) World and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) called again on Wednesday (7 October) for governments around the world to use COVID-19 testing instead of quarantines as a way to stop the pandemic and open up air travel. The two associations said 4.8 million aviation jobs have been lost or are under threat as a result of the shutdown of international air travel, and said “governments must cooperate to remove quarantine restrictions and restart air travel”. The two trade groups are advocating “a systematic approach to COVID-19 testing “ that they say “will provide an effective way to give governments the confidence to re-open borders without quarantine”.
“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 Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said borders must be reopened without quarantines. “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.”
Some countries might be listening. Ministers in Singapore said on the same day the joint IATA-ACI World announcement was made that the country was negotiating “travel bubbles” with various Asian countries to re-start international aviation and to support the award-winning Changi Airport.