IATA releases criteria for COVID-19 testing in air travel

International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced the release of criteria for COVID-19 in the travel process, should governments choose to introduce testing for international travel, the association said.

IATA said testing for travelers arriving from countries considered as high risk, must deliver results fast, be able to be conducted at scale and operate to very high rates of accuracy. Additionally, testing must be cost-effective and not create an economic or logistical barrier to travel.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) published Takeoff guidance, which is the global guidance for governments to follow in reconnecting their people and economies by air. Takeoff outlines layers of measures to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission during air travel and the risk of importation of COVID-19 via air travel. COVID-19 testing should not be a necessary condition for re-opening borders or resuming air services.

Technology for rapid point-of-care Polymerized Chain Reaction (PCR) testing could be a useful layer of protection for travelers from countries considered as higher risk, potentially removing the need for more burdensome and intrusive measures such as quarantine which is a major barrier to travel and the recovery of demand.

IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 290 airlines comprising 82% of global air traffic.