According to IATA, the lack of harmonization to tackle the pandemic in the EU countries causes great confusion and discourages passengers.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) stated that the travel guidelines published last week by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) are “very positive”. In these guidelines, the organizations ask that systematic tests and mandatory quarantines are not imposed on tourists who travel between EU countries, saying that the risk of contagion among airline passengers is “much lower” than among the general population.
IATA’s Regional Director of Airports, Passenger, Cargo and Security, Sergio Fernández, explained that the travel guidelines confirm that neither quarantine nor systematic tests are recommended “in the current epidemiological situation”, but welcome other types of test in addition to the C-reactive protein test (CRP), as long as they have similar efficiency.
Fernández mentioned that the guidelines confirm that air passengers represent less than 1% of all COVID-19 cases detected and that they do not increase the rate of transmission of the disease, while recommending that EU countries follow the established procedures to open borders to citizens of non-EU countries.
Regarding the coordination of measures at European level, the EASA and the ECDC ask states to use these guidelines in their efforts since the lack of harmonization and changes in national policies “cause great confusion and discourage passengers”.
The leading European and international aviation associations, which includes Airlines for Europe (A4E), Airports Council International (ACI), European Region Airline Association (ERA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), have urged European governments to immediately remove quarantines, isolation measures and other travel restrictions in place, and to adhere to the new recommendations.
They also call on member states to work together bilaterally to use initiatives such as rapid tests with the latest technology, air travel corridors without quarantine, and to remove travel restrictions from third countries.
“Rapid testing for COVID-19 opens the door to restart air travel by removing quarantine. And the public agrees: about 65% of surveyed travelers suggest that quarantine should not apply to passengers that test negative,” says the association.
According to the latest published data, European air traffic has been one of the most affected in the world, and it recently plummeted by 89% at airports in the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland and the United Kingdom. To date, 102 airports in Europe, which account for 47% of passenger traffic on the continent, have opened COVID-19 test facilities under the supervision of aviation and health authorities.