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Global Airline Alliances Call for Covid-19 Testing, Digital ‘Health Pass’ to Re-open Borders

The government-imposed travel and entry restrictions, taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19), continue to significantly impact international travel demand, the three global airline alliances – oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance – said on Wednesday.

In an announcement, the three airline alliances said they are in full support of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) updated ‘Take-off’ guidelines for international air transport and are urging governments to implement the suggested passenger testing protocols to restore confidence and re-open borders.

Harmonised approach to coronavirus testing

Photo source: ACI World

Photo source: ACI World

ICAO’s updated ‘Take-off’ guidelines call for the serious consideration of screening and testing as a means for easing travel and border restrictions, and reviving the travel and tourism industry and the global economy.

“Covid-19 testing has emerged as an important part of an end-to-end solution to enable the safe restart of international travel by potentially reducing the reliance on the blunt instrument of blanket quarantines,” the announcement said.

On behalf of their 58 member airlines, representing over 60 percent of world airline capacity and carrying over 1.87 billion passengers annually prior to the COVID-19 crisis, oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance are calling for a harmonised approach to testing that will demonstrate that air travel is not a material cause for infections and will pave the way for a framework of trust to be established between countries.

Digital health passes can restore confidence

Photo source: ACI World

Photo source: ACI World

The alliances also called for the adoption of digital “health pass” technology, so air travel may safely resume.

oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance underlined that recent digital “health pass” trials, such as Common Pass, are presenting a strong case for using digital technology to deliver harmonised standards in the validation and verification of accredited passenger health data.

“The alliances support technical solutions that provide a consistent, scalable and affordable way to declare passenger health data that is simple to implement as part of the customer journey, with processes initiated pre-travel to reduce passenger inconvenience at airports,” the announcement said.

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