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IATA Urges Industry-wide Testing for International Travel

Group says universal testing is the only alternative to blanket quarantines, which are “killing the industry’s recovery”

by Business Traveler

September 23, 2020

The International Air Transport Association is calling for the development and deployment of COVID-19 testing for all passengers before departure.

The global trade group joins a growing chorus of industry organizations urging governments worldwide to adopt pre-travel testing to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, which is crippling international travel and economic recovery.

According to IATA, accurate, affordable, easy-to-operate, scalable and systematic testing before departure would allow airlines to re-establish global air connectivity. The organization says an industry-wide testing program is the only realistic alternative to the current quarantine measures which are “killing the industry’s recovery.”

In response to travel restrictions and quarantine measures, some airlines have already instituted their own pre-travel rapid testing programs, and more are ready to follow suit.

In a statement, Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general, said, “Testing all passengers will give people back their freedom to travel with confidence and that will put millions of people back to work.”

IATA says it “did not come to this decision lightly” and recognized that the challenge of developing and deploying rapid, accurate, affordable, easy-to-operate, scalable and systematic were considerable.

Nevertheless, the organization says it would work through the International Civil Aviation Organization and with health authorities to implement this solution quickly, which IATA says could be as inexpensive as $10 per test, paid for by governments, and which could provide results as quickly as 15 minutes.