IATA to implement airport testing instead of quarantine


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called for the development and deployment of rapid, accurate, affordable, easy-to-operate, scalable and systematic Covid-19 testing for all passengers before departure as an alternative to quarantine measures in order to re-establish global air connectivity. IATA will work through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and with health authorities to implement this solution quickly. International travel is down 92% on 2019 levels. Over half a year has passed since global connectivity was destroyed as countries closed their borders to fight Covid-19. Some governments have cautiously reopened borders since then, but there has been limited uptake because either quarantine measures make travel impractical or the frequent changes in Covid-19 measures make planning impossible. “The key to restoring the freedom of mobility across borders is systematic Covid-19 testing of all travellers before departure. This will give governments the confidence to open their borders without complicated risk models that see constant changes in the rules imposed on travel. Testing all passengers will give people back their freedom to travel with confidence. And that will put millions of people back to work”, Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, said.

A new Israeli made gargle test for coronavirus is being deployed at European airports, after a leading aviation security company threw its weight behind the tech. A freshly inked agreement will lead to the tests being piloted in two European airports within days or weeks. The SpectraLIT test, which eliminates the need for swabbing and lab processing, works on a self-service basis, with passengers simply asked to gargle with ten millilitres of a special mouthwash, and then spit into a tube. In the initial pilot phase, a passenger who tests positive will then be sent for a standard swab test. Meanwhile, Lufthansa plans to begin offering rapid Covid-19 tests to passengers in October. Testing centres would likely be established at Lufthansa's primary hubs such as Frankfurt and Munich but also at key airports in the US and Canada, given that they are important markets.