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EU-wide Covid-19 Testing Protocol for Travel Proposed by Aviation Bodies

Photo source: ACI World

Photo source: ACI World

Aviation bodies are insisting on no quarantines and are pushing for Covid-19 testing for passengers

European aviation bodies – ACI EUROPE, Airlines for Europe (A4E) and IATA – on Thursday intensified their call to the European Commission and member states for quarantine measures to be replaced with coronavirus (Covid-19) testing for passengers from high-risk areas.

Aiming to establish a common framework for pre-departure testing in order to re-establish freedom of movement in Europe and reunite families by the holiday season, the aviation bodies have submitted the framework for how an EU-wide Testing Protocol for Travel (EU-TPT) could work.

The framework proposed is based on two overarching principles:

  • Quarantines must be replaced by testing prior to departure, based on an EU Testing Protocol for travel which is consistently applicable for passengers travelling across borders from high risk areas in the EU/Schengen space and from third countries. Public opinion research has established that 65% of travellers surveyed agree that quarantine should not be required for passengers who test negative for COVID-19.
  • Travel restrictions must be coordinated and based on common risk assessment. This supports the risk assessment criteria and the common colour coding system / mapping of designated areas already proposed by the European Commission, but which is yet to be endorsed and fully implemented by EU States.


More specifically, the aviation bodies are proposing the following framework for common travel restrictions and an EU approach for testing:

Further information on the common colour coding system can be found here.

Quarantine restrictions are ‘unsustainable’

“We need to learn to live – and travel – with the virus,” the aviation bodies say in their letter. “Re-establishing the free movement of people and air connectivity across our continent in a safe way must be a priority”.

According to the aviation bodies, the current situation of patchwork quarantine restrictions are “unsustainable”.

Aviation industry data confirms the worsening situation. IATA figures show air traffic to, from and within Europe is down by 66.3 percent year to date. Latest figures from ACI EUROPE reveal that as of 27 September, passenger traffic in the EU had further plunged to -78 percent.

The aviation bodies insist that a common framework of EU-wide passenger testing would provide far greater assurance and ability for cross-border travellers to plan family reunions or vacations during the holiday period.

“It will also serve as a lifeline to the millions of workers in the travel and tourism sectors whose jobs remain at risk,” the aviation bodies say.

Photo source: ACI World

Photo source: ACI World

In concluding their recommendations, ACI EUROPE, A4E and IATA state unequivocally their position that adoption by European States of a common testing protocol would further reduce transmission risks, restore confidence among the travelling public, and protect livelihoods by allowing the travel and tourism sectors to begin their recovery.

The aviation bodies are urging immediate action from the European Commission and member states to urgently address this issue at EU level and accelerate this process.

On Friday, the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association (ECTAA), which represents some 70,000 professionals in Europe, said it strongly supports the proposal by the three air transport stakeholder associations A4E, ACI and IATA.

“We need European political leaders to act now, as we are very close to the collapse of the travel and tourism industry, which will have a cascade effect on other economic sectors,” ECTAA President Pawel Niewiadomski said.

The aviation bodies’ common framework for pre-departure testing can be seen here:

EU-wide Testing Protocol for Travel (EU-TPT)

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