Tests and quarantines cannot become the 'new normal' for travel, say airlines

Tests and quarantines cannot become the 'new normal' for travel, say airlines
Credit: Belga

Pre-trip tests, quarantines on arrival and certificates cannot become the new normal for travel, the lobbying organisation Airlines4Europe (A4E) insisted at its annual summit on Thursday.

The various major European aviation groups that make up the organisation (Ryanair, easyJet, IAG, Lufthansa and Air France-KLM) have also called for the gradual lifting of all pandemic-related travel restrictions in the European Union.

"The science is clear: it is already possible to travel safely and unrestricted on many intra-EU flights, and this will only increase as the vaccine is rolled out," said Johan Lundgren, CEO of low-cost carrier easyJet.

"We all have a responsibility, including European governments, to ensure that travel in Europe is accessible and affordable for all," he added.

While they are a useful step towards safe and unrestricted travel this summer, tests, quarantines and certificates cannot become the new norm for travel, Lundgren also insisted.

The European aviation industry wants all travel restrictions in the EU to be gradually lifted this summer, and flights to the US and UK to be restored.

Some 70% of adults should have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by July, and around 25% would be fully vaccinated by then, said A4E member airlines.

"EU countries must quickly restore the freedom of movement of citizens and implement the Covid digital certificate system without further restrictions," called the heads of the major aviation groups.

The EU has introduced a certificate so that vaccinated people can travel in the Union from 1 July without quarantine and testing.

However, individual countries still reserve the right to apply further restrictions if the epidemiological situation requires it, something airlines want to avoid after a year and a half with virtually no flights.

"We hope it will be better than last year," European Commissioner Didier Reynders told the A4E summit. He expressed confidence in the "trend" among the 27 to lift restrictions.

The airline industry is also asking that people who have contracted Covid-19 in the last six months should be able to travel unconditionally, and that those who test negative should not be subject to any restrictions.

Unvaccinated minors travelling with their parents should not be quarantined or tested if their parents are exempt.

The Brussels Times

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