Global airline alliance SkyTeam calls for standardized COVID-19 testing to resume international air travel. This testing will be done before departure in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
SkyTeam and its 19 members, which include Delta Air Lines, Air France, and China Eastern Airlines. They are all in the favour of the enhancement and implementation of testing protocols. But both before departure and on arrival where necessary.
However, the alliance wants to “enable the safe reopening of borders. And offer an effective alternative to quarantines,” after COVID-19 travel restrictions are causing many hurdles for the airline industry to operate smoothly.
Supporting Rapid Testing
However, this decision comes after the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) calls for reliable COVID-19 rapid testing. It will be before departure in order to restore global air travel.
SkyTeam said they believe scalable and reliable rapid COVID-19 testing, which they will implement in cooperation with local airport authorities and governmental bodies, will enable borders to reopen safely “while offering customers greater peace of mind.”
Walter Cho, chairman of the SkyTeam Alliance Board, highlighted that “with international passenger numbers down 92% versus last year. There is an urgent need to promote business recovery by restoring customer confidence in air travel. But through a globally standardized testing solution.”
However, the aviation sector is still struggling to cope up with the crisis. That the coronavirus pandemic is causing the industry globally.
The Struggling Industry
British Airways owner IAG, EasyJet, and Virgin Atlantic are among airlines that have announced tens of thousands of job cuts. Whereas airports are also suffering losses and layoff employees.
SkyTeam’s CEO, Kristin Colvile said, “Passenger testing would benefit not only our members. But all airlines and the wider travel industry. By providing much-needed clarity to restore consumer confidence.”
“It adds to the rigorous cleanliness measures that SkyTeam members have already implemented under our SkyCare & Protect pledge to ensure flying is as safe as possible.”
SkyTeam said its members have already put into practice a raft of personal safety measures to help protect customers. And employees including more frequent sanitizing of aircraft, air purifying filters installed on aircraft, mandatory face coverings for passengers. And employees, frequent access to hand-sanitizer stations and wipes and social distancing markers.
The Pandemic Effect
Aviation has been one of the worst-hit sectors during the pandemic. The demand for international flights was down by 92 percent as compared with the previous year.
However, airlines are expecting that demand will not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024. And as long-haul routes are the main support for the airline is at a halt due to the immigration and quarantine regulations and restrictions.
To survive in this crisis airlines are cutting down routes, jobs, and other costs in response. Virgin Atlantic is temporarily not operating from its original home of Gatwick airport. And has sent its fuel-inefficient jumbo jets to the scrapheap.