Airlines for America (A4A) is urging US vice president Mike Pence to implement mandatory testing for international arrivals.

The industry group, which represents US carriers including American Airlines, United, and Delta, said it supports a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) proposal to lift existing travel bans and replace them with a testing programme for inbound arrivals, according to Reuters.

“We believe a well-planned programme focused on increasing testing of travellers to the United States will further [economic and health] objectives in a much more effective way than the blanket travel restrictions currently in place,” said A4A in the letter.

The US has maintained a travel ban on non-US citizens arriving from Brazil, China, the UK, and two dozen other countries, since March. These restrictions remain unchanged, even as Covid-19 has now spread around the globe to areas not covered by the travel ban.

A4A’s letter comes amid an announcement by Canada that pre-departure testing will be required for all inbound arrivals starting January 7, reported Reuters.

In September, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), an industry group representing all airlines globally, also said it supported pre-flight testing for all international passengers.

Within the US, state governments have resorted to a piecemeal approach in the absence of federal government guidance.

Some states, such as New York, require tests and/or quarantines, while others have no restrictions. To date, American Airlines and domestic carriers have introduced their own testing programmes for passengers bound for destinations where travel restrictions apply.