Joint US-European Coronavirus Testing Scheme

Tests in lab

To resume the travel between the US and Europe, major airlines are asking for a joint coronavirus testing program.

British Airways and United Airlines have signed a letter to the US and European Union leaders.

The EU is not allowing American tourists to visit the European countries due to spike in coronavirus cases in the US. And airlines are struggling to survive the crisis due to the pandemic.

However, a letter was written to the US and European governments. In which the major airline chief executives mentioned that there should be a US-EU testing program for passengers making trans-Atlantic trips.

The heads of the International Airlines Group (IAG) signed the letter. IAG includes bosses of airlines which include owners of British Airways, American Airlines, United Airlines, and Lufthansa.

The reaction

“Given the unquestioned importance of trans-Atlantic 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 US and Europe,” the letter said.

US Vice President Mike Pence and Ylva Johansson, the European commissioner for home affairs received this letter.

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

The European Union is not allowing visitors from the US. But it has eased restrictions for nonessential travel from 15 countries that have a lower rate of coronavirus infection.

However, the UK is implementing a 14-day quarantine for people coming from the US.

Pilar Wolfsteller, Americas Air Transport Editor at FlightGlobal said that such measures are a crucial step towards restarting flights between America and Europe: “Until the US and EU open their borders to foreign visitors again, it will be very difficult to impossible for airlines to climb out of the crisis.”

“For the major US carriers like United, American and Delta, European visitors are vital to their success and any progress towards re-opening transatlantic travel would be a great step forward towards normalcy for the airlines,” she added.

​China in Favor of Testing

China is also in the favour of testing kits. It is implementing a rule that passengers of inbound flights must provide negative Covid-19 test results before boarding.

Therefore, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) made the announcement on Tuesday. As the government wants to reduce the risk of imported coronavirus cases.

As air travel is majorly down with low demand, the airline industry is facing a huge challenge. Most major airlines are announcing job cuts and staff furloughs, while some smaller players have collapsed.

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