The International Air Transport Association (Iata) has welcomed the decision by US authorities that all those travelling to the US will have to have proof of a negative Covid-19 test result, from a test carried out within three days before their departure for the US. The new requirement was announced by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and will come into force on January 26.
“Systematic pre-departure testing is key to giving governments confidence to reopen markets without quarantine,” affirmed Iata VP: member and external relations North America Douglas Lavin. “Testing will ensure that at current infection levels, aviation will not become a meaningful vector of new transmissions in the US. Furthermore, Iata traveler surveys show that passengers strongly support and are willing to undergo testing.”
Iata was also encouraged by the flexibility incorporated in this order by the CDC, which would accept the results of both antigen and polymerase chain reaction tests. It would also allow passengers who had had Covid-19 to show that they had immunity to the disease.
“As the efficiency of testing is confirmed, we need to move quickly to [the] next steps – lifting travel restrictions which prevent travel from Europe and other key markets and removing quarantine requirements imposed by state and local governments in the US,” he asserted. Iata was developing its own Travel Pass, which was a mobile app to manage information flows concerning Covid-19 testing requirements and vaccine and immunity information.
Iata Travel Pass data would be encrypted so that passengers could safely receive and store it on their mobile devices. This data would include verified test results and vaccination documentation, which could be shared with airlines and national authorities. The association called on the US authorities to accept such electronic documentation held by Iata Travel Passes.
“While this order presents operational challenges, we will continue to work with [the] CDC to achieve a smooth implementation,” said Lavin. “It is definitely a step in the right direction.”