In an attempt to resume travel between Europe and the US, airline companies are calling on leaders to implement a common Covid-19 screening plan.
In this direction, International Airlines Group (IAG) carriers, including British Airways – American Airlines, United Airlines and Lufthansa sent a letter this week to US and EU officials requesting that a common testing program for passengers making trans-Atlantic trips be put into place.
“We urge you to consider adopting a joint US-EU Covid-19 testing program to enhance safety and build confidence in critical transatlantic passenger air services,” said the letter, which is addressed to US Vice President Mike Pence and European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson.
“Given the unquestioned importance of trans-Atlantic air travel to the global economy as well as to the economic recovery of our businesses, we believe it is critical to find a way to re-open air services between the US and Europe,” the letter signed by four airline chief executives said.
It should be noted that the EU, including Greece, is not accepting travelers from the United States due to coronavirus concerns. Greek authorities have said however that they will examine lifting a ban on US residents at the end of the month.
At the same time, airline companies are struggling to remain above water following nearly four months of lockdowns and travel bans which led to plummeting revenues.
“We recognize that testing presents a number of challenges, however we believe that a pilot testing program for the transatlantic market could be an excellent opportunity for government and industry to work together,” the letter said.
By the same reasoning and in efforts to reduce the risk of imported coronavirus cases, China is also calling for testing prior to travel and that inbound travelers provide negative test results before boarding.
In the meantime, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) warned this week that governments should steer clear of reintroducing tough and unwelcome ‘anti-travel’ measures, warning that these could seriously jeopardise global economic recovery.
The WTTC has repeatedly called for more consistent travel rules and Covid-19 guidance by European countries to counter confusion by travelers and holidaymakers.