The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has worked with WHO to set up a testing system that will replace the mandatory quarantine and help revitalize the aviation industry.
IATA, which represents around 290 airlines worldwide, is also working with the International Civil Aviation Organization and the World Health Organization to set up a fast and scalable test system.
“We have to test because we have to clear quarantines,” said Conrad Clifford, IATA regional vice president for the Asia-Pacific region. He continued, “What we’ve seen so far is if there is a 14-day quarantine it is the same as closing your borders.”
Clifford also said that IATA “would prefer to see some tests before leaving, and ideally if we can find countries with a similar risk of covid, similar to Singapore and Hong Kong, then it eliminates the need for further testing. “
Singapore and Hong Kong have agreed to reopen their borders for the first time in seven months, and it has also agreed to exempt people from mandatory quarantine in order to re-establish connections with two of Asia’s financial hubs. No further details were given.
The risk of passengers being infected on an airplane is very low, according to Clifford. This is due to the fact that airlines have given the planes a more thorough disinfection and reduced catering and magazine in flight. The likelihood of being infected on board is lower than being struck by lightning. “A lot of measures have been taken to bring this chance as close as possible to zero. So it’s a very safe environment indeed, ”said Clifford.
The IATA had forecast that the airlines will lose a total of 84 billion US dollars in June this year. The number is set to rise as virus cases are not declining and the market has not yet opened. However, Clifford said cargo planes had been a silver lining this year due to a surge in online buying that is set to continue for this year and years to come. Air freight is expected to account for over 26% compared to 12% last year.
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