In response to a patchwork of rules and quarantine regulations across the European continent, aviation authorities from several European nations are now calling for a unified response to the coronavirus.
The groups ACI -Europe, Airlines for Europe (A4E) and ATA stepped up their insistence and pressured the European Commission and all member nations of the EU to replace quarantines with more stringent testing on those originating from areas where the virus is still very prevalent.
A recent public opinion poll showed that 65% of respondents agreed that there should be no quarantines for anyone who has just tested negative for the coronavirus, and the groups called the current system, with possible mandatory quarantines hanging over the heads of travelers “unsustainable.”
With the usually-busy Christmas season already nearing the horizon, the groups would like to streamline the sometimes-confusing mass of differing regulations around the Continent and create uniform coronavirus testing before travelers are even allowed to board flights.
To this end, they have now drawn up a plan with the aim of making it easier for people to navigate through Europe. Called the “EU-Wide Testing protocol for Travel,” or EU-TPT, it would simplify travel and, they hope, increase business in this sector, which has suffered so greatly this past summer.
In order to completely avoid any necessary quarantines, which has caused many would-be tourists to not even attempt to travel this year, the proposed system relies completely on coronavirus testing, well before any flights are undertaken.
The groups propose that these tests be completed not only on those from the Schengen area nations but the entire EU and from third countries as well.
The color-coding system designating coronavirus risk already proposed by the European Commission will be part of the new plan. The groups state in their announcement of the EU-TPT: “We need to learn to live – and travel – with the virus. Re-establishing the free movement of people and air connectivity across our continent in a safe way must be a priority.”
Stating that they hoped that the new protocol would be a way to salvage the holiday travel season this year, the officials from the three groups also stated that “It will also serve as a lifeline to the millions of workers in the travel and tourism sectors whose jobs remain at risk.”
The proponents of the new plan also stated that the EU-TPT protocols would not only enable travel to proceed more smoothly within Europe but that the stepped-up testing would benefit society by reducing the risk of virus transmission.
European tourism suffered a body blow this summer, with residents of the United States completely excluded from traveling to the Continent. Recent figures showed conclusively that the total number of flights to and from Europe, and even within the Continent, had decreased a staggering 66.3 this past year.
The latest statistics, released on September 27, show that travel up to that date within the EU had decreased by a whopping 78%.
The new plan put forth by ACI-Europe, Airlines for Europe and ATA can be found below.