What will airport COVID-19 testing be like?

Published: 19 June 2020 - 6:30 a.m.
By: Hotelier Middle East Staff

Airlines have felt the effects of COVID-19 as air trffic ground to a halt and passengers were unable to fly.

But now, as carriers and airports begin to creep towards some sort of ‘new normal’, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released its criteria for COVID-19 testing.

IATA urges governments considering to roll out testing to ensure results are available in under an hour and more than 99% accurate. It also urged that airports must be able to carry out several hundreds of tests per hour by taking saliva samples rather than throat or nasal swabs.

Ideally, COVID-19 testing would be required in advance of arrival at the airport and within 24 hours of travel. If testing is required as part of the travel process, it is recommended at departure.

IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac explained: “Airlines are committed to reducing the risks of COVID-19 transmission via air travel and COVID-19 testing could play an important role. But it must be implemented in line with ICAO’s global re-start guidance with the aim of facilitating travel. Speed, scale and accuracy are the most critical performance criteria for testing to be effectively incorporated into the travel process.”

In terms of cost, IATA urges that testing should be a boost to travel, not a barrier and as such governments should cover the cost.

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