Airports Council International (ACI) World, the organization which represents the world’s airports, is urging governments to adopt “robust testing” programs for travelers to replace blanket COVID-19 quarantine requirements.
“Unilateral national measures, especially a quarantine requirement, is damaging to both the industry and passenger confidence,” ACI World director general Luis Felipe de Oliveira said.
Instead the industry trade group is calling on governments to follow a “robust and consistent protocol” when testing travelers for COVID-19, which it said should be “implemented only when necessary and as an alternative to broad-brush requirements for quarantine.”
ACI joins other travel industry groups, including the US Travel Association, in calling for widespread, proactive testing to restart the travel industry.
Delta Air Lines has already announced a program to test “nearly 100 percent” of its workforce for COVID-19, calling it “one of the best ways to slow the spread, especially since the virus can be spread by people who don’t have any symptoms.”
ACI said it will request the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to develop recommendations for countries “which should be risk based and informed by scientific and health experts” and “the measures should only be applied to passengers between countries where there is significant risk”
The organization’s recommendations for government actions include:
• Adopting risk-based and proportionate measures based on scientific evidence
• Avoiding blanket quarantine rules
• Implementing effective testing protocols before and after travel to mitigate risk
• Recognizing properly issued health certificates
• Supporting secure solutions to share health information such as test results
• Fully implementing the ICAO Take-Off Aviation Health Safety Protocols
• Informing the public in close cooperation with the travel and tourism industries.
“A risk-based approach would support the concept of travel bubbles, with low risk countries requiring no testing or quarantine for travel,” de Oliveira said.
“Medium risk locations might require testing only, with mutual acceptance of test results and arrivals from high risk locations might require a combination of testing and a short quarantine to enable the verification of results,” he added.