Airlines demand coronavirus antigen tests before international flights
PARIS (FRANCE) – Airline companies on Tuesday demanded coronavirus screening for all international passengers instead of the quarantine, which they blame for intensifying the travel slump.
Quick and cheap antigen tests that can be administered by non-medical staff are slated to be available in coming weeks and they should be implemented as per globally agreed standards, said Alexandre de Juniac, director general of International Air Transport Association (IATA).
“We don’t see any alternative solution that would be less challenging or more effective,” de Juniac said.
Pounded by the virus crisis, airlines are urging governments to implement alternatives to do away with the blanket travel ban which is once again being implemented in Europe amid resurgent case numbers.
As the rapid antigen tests will be available for $7 each, the IATA head will pressure the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the UN body which supervises global aviation rules, to endorse their use.
He said there has to be an international consensus to make sure that tests results during departure are accepted on arrival. “It will also boost passenger confidence that everybody on the aircraft has been tested.”
Antigen tests are much quicker, but they tend to miss positives cases than molecular diagnostic tests conducted in labs.