Airports Council International (ACI) World is calling on governments to consider replacing blanket quarantine requirements with “robust testing” programmes for travellers.

The global trade organisation representing airports is urging governments to follow a “robust and consistent protocol”  when testing travellers for Covid-19, which it said should be “implemented only when necessary and as an alternative to broad-brush requirements for quarantine”.

“Unilateral national measures, especially a quarantine requirement, is damaging to both the industry and passenger confidence,” ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said.

“Unnecessary quarantine measures are particularly harmful to passenger confidence as international air travellers have no assurance that, if they make flight arrangements, they will be able to return to their place of departure to continue their daily lives,” he added.

ACI said it will request the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to develop recommendations for states “which should be risk based and informed by scientific and health experts” and “the measures should only be applied to passengers between countries where there is significant risk”

The organisation said governments should do the following:

  • Adopt the principle of risk-based and proportionate measures based on scientific evidence
  • Avoid blanket quarantine rules
  • Implement effective testing protocols before and after travel as a means to mitigate risk, rather than imposing quarantine
  • Recognize properly issued health certificates
  • Support secure solutions to share health information such as test results
  • Fully implement the ICAO Take-Off Aviation Health Safety Protocols
  • Inform the public in close cooperation with the travel and tourism industries.

“A risk-based approach would support the concept of travel bubbles, with low risk countries requiring no testing or quarantine for travel,” Luis Felipe de Oliveira said.

“Medium risk locations might require testing only, with mutual acceptance of test results and arrivals from high risk locations might require a combination of testing and a short quarantine to enable the verification of results,” he added.