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Published on Thursday, November 12, 2020

Global alliances join call for testing regime

The three global airline alliances have joined a push to end the 'blunt instrument' of quarantine and for authorities to use testing and technology to reopen borders.

Star Alliance, oneworld and Sky Team threw their collective weight behind a report released by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) which again called for testing regimes and 'health pass' technology.

ICAO's Council on Aviation Recovery Task Force yesterday insisted the measures were the only way to revive the industry.  

The alliances, which collectively have almost 60 members and represent 60% of the world's airline capacity, said a harmonised response to testing - as suggested by the ICAO - would be the 'foundation' for recovery.

"We welcome the publication of the updated CART report which, among other things, calls 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," Star Alliance Chief Executive Jeffrey Goh said in a joint statement.

"A robust protocol for testing will also provide further evidence to 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."

SkyTeam CEO Kristin Colvile said: "Testing regimes and trials of digital health passes have identified means to restoring confidence and reopening borders, complementing the layer upon layer of passenger safety measures already implemented by airlines and airports worldwide.

"Aviation supports millions of jobs around the world and drives international commerce, trade and tourism. Urgent action is needed to adopt testing and technology to mitigate COVID risks and safely and quickly revive international air travel."

Oneworld CEO Rob Gurney said the current restrictions are creating 'much uncertainty'.

"Testing can play a role in enabling the safe restart of travel," he said. "Any solution used in declaring passenger health data should be consistent, scalable and cost effective - this will provide clarity and confidence to customers, airlines and other stakeholders as international travel resumes."

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