Brussels/Geneva, October 2 (ANI): With less than 90 days to go before the year-end holiday season, European aviation bodies have intensified their call to replace quarantine measures with passenger testing.
This will provide far greater assurance and ability for cross-border travellers to plan family reunions or vacations during this important holiday period, they said. It will also serve as a lifeline to the millions of workers in the travel and tourism sectors whose jobs remain at risk.
Following their direct call to action together with the wider travel and tourism sectors in a letter to European Commission President von der Leyen on September 17, aviation bodies ACI Europe, Airlines for Europe (A4E) and IATA have submitted a framework for how an EU-wide Testing Protocol for Travel (EU-TPT) can work.
In follow up letters sent to the Commission President and heads of state as well as health ministers across Europe, the industry associations set out their proposal for harmonised pre-departure testing from high-risk areas, describing the current situation of patchwork quarantine restrictions as unsustainable.
Aviation industry data confirms the worsening situation. IATA figures show air traffic to, from, and within Europe is down by 66.3 per cent year to date. The latest figures from ACI Europe show that as of September 27, passenger traffic in the EU had further plunged to 78 per cent.
New research released by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) on the impact of Covid-19 restrictions suggests the collapse of air traffic could result in a 52 per cent drop in employment supported by aviation in Europe, equating to the loss of around 7 million jobs.
Nearly 450 billion euros in economic activity will be lost. Urgent action is therefore required to prevent an even greater economic and employment catastrophe.
"We need to learn to live -- and travel -- with the virus," says the letter. "Re-establishing the free movement of people and air connectivity across our continent in a safe way must be a priority."
In concluding their recommendations, ACI Europe, A4E and IATA stated unequivocally their position that adoption by European states of a common testing protocol will further reduce transmission risks, restore confidence among the travelling public, and protect livelihoods by allowing the travel and tourism sectors to begin their recovery.
As a result, they urged immediate action from the European Commission and states to urgently address this issue at EU level and accelerate this process. (ANI)