ACI and IATA call for global government support on testing

(Photo: Gatwick Airport)

The two trade associations suggest testing should be used as a viable resource to re-open borders and non-debt generating support granted to prevent the collapse of the industry

The Airports Council International (ACI) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has reinforced an urgent call for governments globally to use testing to eradicate the quarantine period and as a means to safely re-open borders and re-establish global connectivity.

To prevent the collapse of the aviation industry the pair are also requesting the use of non-debt inducing financial support by governments.

It’s been estimated by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) that 46 million jobs are at risk because of the pandemic. Around 41.2 million of those roles are located within the travel and tourism sector which is heavily reliant on aviation.

The two organisations say introducing testing could help repair the economy and act as a revenue lifeline for airlines and airports. In order for the approach to be successful, governments must be willing to adopt it on a national scale.

Luis Felipe de Oliveira, ACI World director, warned of the dire consequences to the industry if changes aren’t implemented soon: “ACI and IATA are aligned in calling for urgent government action to introduce widespread and coordinated testing of passengers to enable quarantine requirements to be removed. Without this action, it is not an exaggeration that the industry is facing collapse.”

The pair say that offering direct financial support from governments to protect jobs, minimise default on debt and credit losses whilst not increasing debt levels is a vital priority within the sector.

Alexandra de Juniac, IATA’s director general, believes there needs to be an immediate change.

“We need action quickly. Large parts of the global air network have been severely ruptured for well over a half year. Job losses—inside and outside the industry—mount with each day that borders are closed.”

He added: “Momentum is building in support of testing to re-open borders. It’s the top operational priority. And to make sure that we have a viable aviation sector at the end of this crisis a second round of financial relief is unavoidable.”

The ACI and IATA, in accordance with guidance provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO), believe governments should adopt a new coordinated approach to testing. This, they say, will allow for safer travel that will help re-open the aviation industry.