Coronavirus: Aviation industry steps up calls for EU testing regime

Travel restrictions threaten seven million jobs and €450bn in lost business

A Covid-19 test being taken at Düsseldorf airport. Photograph: Sarah Pabst/Bloomberg

A Covid-19 test being taken at Düsseldorf airport. Photograph: Sarah Pabst/Bloomberg

 

Global aviation bodies, backed by leading Irish industry players, have stepped up calls for a common EU testing regime to end Covid-19 travel restrictions.

New research by the industry calculates that ongoing travel restrictions will cost seven million jobs and about €450 billion in lost economic activity.

Airlines for Europe, whose members include Aer Lingus parent International Airlines Group; Ryanair; Airports Council International Europe, supported by State company DAA; and the International Air Transport Association; have written to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, heads of state and health ministers.

They condemn the current patchwork of quarantine restrictions in the EU as “unsustainable” and set out proposals for harmonised pre-departure testing from high-risk regions.

Proposals

The organisations want member states to adopt the European Commission’s proposals for co-ordinated restrictions that include common criteria for risk assessment.

These will class regions as green, amber or red, according to their risk of infection.

The groups argue that “quarantines must be replaced by testing” for passengers travelling from high-risk areas within the EU and from countries outside the bloc.

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