Testing needs to deliver results fast and operate to very high rates of accuracy. At the same time, it should be cost-effective so there won’t be an economic or logistical barrier to travel, the IATA says.
In addition, Covid-19 testing would ideally be required before getting to the airport, but within 24 hours of travel. However, if testing will be made a requirement as part of the travel process, it is recommended at departure. If someone tests positive, airlines have been offering flexibility so customers will be able to re-book their trip.
The cost of tests is a big concern, with testing sometimes costing up to US$200. The World Health Organization requires governments to bear the costs of mandatory health testing, which IATA supports. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has published guidance for governments to follow in reconnecting their people and economies by air.
Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO of IATA, said: “Airlines are committed to reducing the risks of Covid-19 transmission via air travel and Covid-19 testing could play an important role. But it must be implemented in line with ICAO’s global restart guidance with the aim of facilitating travel. Speed, scale and accuracy are the most critical performance criteria for testing to be effectively incorporated into the travel process.”