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Can EU-wide passenger testing protocol reinvigorate the Aerospace industry?

Oct 02 2020 by Adam Stockley

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Aviation bodies urge heads of EU to implement pre-flight passenger testing

Aviation bodies urge heads of EU to implement pre-flight passenger testing

Within a joint letter [1] to the EC President, EU heads of state, and health ministers, they propose a common framework for pre-departure testing to save millions of jobs, whilst reuniting families for the holiday season.

They propose including cross-border travellers arriving from areas of high transmission, into a targeted testing system of asymptomatic people. This is claimed to be “a more effective response to COVID-19 as this would limit transmission risks from incoming travellers more effectively than quarantines.”

It is claimed that the current system of ‘detrimental travel restrictions’ (quarantines) currently allows asymptomatic people to travel, and by implementing the new protocol, it would mitigate the local confinement measures, whilst providing air connectivity and restoring the free moment within the EU/Schengen area.

The protocol, named as the (EU-TPT) system, would “serve as a lifeline to the millions of workers in the travel and tourism sectors whose jobs remain at risk”. They claim that “Member States’ uncoordinated travel restrictions have not only prevented the recovery of air transport but have also proven ineffective.”

For this system to be effective, some criteria must be integrated into the travel process. It must be performed at speed, on a sufficient scale, whilst being accurate to high sensitivity and specificity. It must also be supported by a system of mutual recognition across EU/EEA/Switzerland and by UK regulators. Also, it must be either publicly financed or placed at an affordable cost for passengers.

With air traffic down by 66.3% year to date [2], a second wave coupled with aggressive quarantine systems implemented across Europe, a successfully implemented framework across the board could be the solution to effectively re-establish air connectivity, whilst simultaneously reducing the spread of the virus.


[1]https://www.iata.org/contentassets/3101659697ba4b8aa47a69268d8d4da3/covid19-testing-recovery-air-industry.pdf

[2]https://www.iata.org/en/pressroom/pr/2020-10-02-01/