March 9, 2021

Calls for joint transatlantic virus testing

By Bev Fearis, published 22/07/20

A group of major airlines are urging U.S. and European governments to implement a co-ordinated Covid-19 testing programme so that transatlantic travel can resume.

British Airways’ parent IAG, American Airlines, United Airlines and Lufthansa have signed a letter calling for a joint coronavirus testing programme for passengers.

The letter was sent yesterday to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Ylva Johansson, the European commissioner for home affairs.

“Given the unquestioned importance of transatlantic air travel to the global economy as well as to the economic recovery of our businesses, we believe it is critical to find a way to re-open air services between the U.S. and Europe,” says the letter.

“We recognise that testing presents a number of challenges, however we believe that a pilot testing programme for the transatlantic market could be an excellent opportunity for government and industry to work together.”

At present, the EU is not allowing entry to U.S. residents although it has relaxed rules for non-essential travel from 15 countries with lower coronavirus infection rates.

Meanwhile, the UK is imposing a mandatory 14-day self-imposed quarantine for visitors from the U.S.

The U.S. is currently restricting travel for most passengers from Europe.

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