Airlines for America (A4A), which represents major U.S. carriers including American, Delta, United and Southwest, is one of several industry groups calling on the federal government to pilot a COVID-19 testing program for passengers in hopes of restoring international travel.
According to Reuters, the chief executives of A4A, Airlines UK, Heathrow Airport and Virgin Atlantic Airways recently contacted government transportation officials in the U.S. and U.K. seeking to «establish passenger testing solutions in air travel,» which they believe «provides the best and most effective frontline defense» in the absence of a coronavirus vaccine.
The group is urging officials to implement a testing trial between New York and London by the end of September.
«One of the key steps to recovery is setting up an international pilot program between the U.S. and either Europe, Canada, somewhere in the Pacific,» A4A senior vice president Sharon Pinkerton told reporters.
The efforts have not gone unnoticed by the U.S. Travel Association, which applauded and stood behind the industry’s stance.
«We have long maintained that testing is the key to both safer travel and reopening the economy. More rapid, efficient testing allows for a broader reopening of the travel economy, and will enable organizations to more quickly restore lost jobs and rehire workers,» U.S. Travel Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes said in a statement issued Thursday. «Importantly, a robust testing program would allow America to welcome back international visitors, a segment of travel that has effectively disappeared since the start of the pandemic»…