IATA calls for simpler Covid-19 testing

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GENEVA, October 18, 2021: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) presented a program for the UK to restore the health of its air transport sector by adopting a simpler Covid-19 testing regime, ensuring affordable and competitive airport costs and working for net-zero air transport.

Speaking at the UK Aviation Club, IATA Managing Director Willie Walsh stressed the value of face-to-face meetings and the desire of travelers to get back on the plane. But he warned that by limiting travel and persisting with expensive PCR testing, the UK had failed to capitalize on its early debut in Covid-19 vaccinations and fell behind its main European partners .

“In terms of daily life, the UK is much more pragmatic in dealing with Covid-19 than many other states. But its approach to travel continues to focus on restrictions that cannot be justified on the basis of risk. Over the period from February to August, the PCR test positivity rate of passengers arriving in the UK was 1%. And the test positivity rate on the general population was 7%. We can therefore say with confidence that travel does not increase the risk of Covid-19 in the UK, ”said Walsh.

While welcoming recent moves to reduce the number of ‘red list’ countries and finally proposing an end to PCR testing for vaccinated passengers, Walsh warned that problems remained, mainly with the new antigen test. post-arrival. The UK relies on a closed system of private testing providers, the effectiveness of which is referred to as a “lottery” by the Competition and Markets Authority. And prices remain high compared to convenient options at department stores elsewhere in the world.

Covid-19 document checks have also been identified as a barrier to travel. UK must lead the way with automated digital solutions to ease the burden on airlines. “Manual paper checks by airlines are not sustainable as volumes come back. We need to automate the process… the airlines are not your border guards, ”Walsh said.

Affordable and competitive air transport costs

The slow recovery of air connectivity in the UK is likely to be hampered by the fee increases offered at the UK’s main air gateway, Heathrow Airport. Leaked documents reveal that owners at Heathrow Airport are looking to increase fees by 90%, which adds around £ 100 to the cost of an average family’s vacation.

“It’s time for Heathrow shareholders to step up. They have enjoyed consistent returns for years. Instead of expecting travelers to cover excessive returns, now is the time for them to invest. All eyes will be on the CAA to make sure it does its job to protect the consumer by pushing back the outrageous behavior at the airport, ”Walsh said.

Net-zero theft

On October 4, 2021, at IATA’s annual general meeting in Boston, airlines agreed to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. This ambitious commitment brings the industry in line with the goal of the Paris climate agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 °. Net zero will be achieved through a combination of sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs), new technologies, improved infrastructure and operations and, where sector solutions are not possible, through the use of offsetting. and carbon capture.

“For aviation, net-zero is a daring and daring commitment. To achieve this, all stakeholders, including governments, must play their part. Together, we can make sustainable aviation a reality. In doing so, we will ensure the freedom to fly for future generations, ”said Walsh.

In terms of specific UK government support, airlines would like to see policies to invest more in SAF through capital grants, production incentives, government guaranteed loans and ‘green bonds’. “.

“The focus on incentives to build a thriving SAF industry in the UK would show this to the world as a global best practice that will help states avoid a patchwork of different regulations or market distortions. The goal should be energy self-sufficiency for sustainable connectivity. And that would come with the added benefit of creating thousands of high paying jobs, ”Walsh said.


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