IATA AGM calls for borders to reopen

GENEVA 26 November 2020: Pressure on governments to act increases as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) 76th Annual General Meeting (AGM) unanimously resolved to call on governments to reopen borders to travel urgently.

IATA is proposing systematic testing of international travellers which would permit the lifting of border restrictions and provide an alternative to current quarantine rules.

Quarantines kill demand for air travel, and governments need to immediately consider the drastic socio-economic impact this is having, the IATA press statement claimed.  International air travel continues to dip 90% on 2019 levels. Current estimates are that as many as 46 million jobs supported by air travel could be lost and that the economic activity sustained by aviation will be reduced by USD1.8 trillion.

“People want and need global mobility. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Take-off measures make flying safe. But border closures, movement restrictions and quarantine measures make travel impossible for most. We must manage how we live with the virus. But that does not have to mean destroying aviation, risking millions of jobs, crippling economies and tearing apart the international social fabric. We could safely open borders today with systematic Covid-19 testing,” said  IATA’s director general and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac.

Other AGM resolution

IATA reaffirmed the industry’s continuing commitment to implementing agreed biosafety protocols worldwide.

It encouraged governments to implement guidance developed by ICAO,

Asked governments to ensure that aviation staff and international travellers are prioritized for Covid-19 vaccination once safe and effective treatments become available, and health care workers and vulnerable groups have been protected.

The AGM also reinforced the vital role of air transport in facilitating the global response to the pandemic, including the timely distribution of medicines, testing kits, protective equipment and eventually vaccines around the world.