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IATA Calls For “Policy Alternatives” Instead of Quarantine

IATA Calls For “Policy Alternatives” Instead of Quarantine
Joe Cortez

The IATA wants governments to start considering alternatives to quarantine, in order to restart the tourism industry once more. Their suggestions include health screenings, COVID-19 tests before arriving in a foreign country, and discouraging flyers exposed to the novel Coronavirus from traveling.

The International Air Travel Association (IATA) is asking international governments to consider quarantine alternatives, as countries begin opening borders to foreign travelers. Instead of instituting lockdowns, the aviation trade organization wants authorities to offer protection measures and COVID-19 testing prior to departure.

Reducing and Mitigating Risks of COVID-19 in Aviation

In their press release, the IATA notes that continued quarantine and closed borders will hurt the aviation industry even further, forcing airlines to seek new avenues for liquidity. Instead, the group is asking countries to take “smart” precautions which would welcome travelers and potentially reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“Imposing quarantine measures on arriving travelers keeps countries in isolation and the travel and tourism sector in lockdown,” IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said in the release. “Fortunately, there are policy alternatives that can reduce the risk of importing COVID-19 infections while still allowing for the resumption of travel and tourism that are vital to jumpstarting national economies.”

First, the group suggests making public health screenings mandatory at all international border checks. IATA suggests using paperless web portals or mobile apps, in order to “avoid privacy issues and cut the risk of infection with paper documents.”

IATA also suggests making COVID-19 tests available to passengers coming from “higher-risk” countries. Instead of forcing passengers to take a test at the airport, they would be asked to go through the examination prior to travel, and holding a doctor’s note with them certifying they do not carry the novel Coronavirus. There are some logistical problems, as quality control would be required to ensure infected passengers aren’t traveling with a false negative.

“Tests would need to be widely available and highly accurate, with results delivered quickly,” IATA notes. “Test data would need to be independently validated so as to be mutually recognized by governments and securely transmitted to the relevant authorities.”

Finally, the IATA is encouraging anyone who is sick or potentially exposed to the novel Coronavirus to “do the right thing” and not travel. Airlines should follow the International Civil Air Organization (ICAO) Take-Off guidelines, which include wearing facemasks aboard flights and social distancing. Contract tracing could also help airlines and governments work together to reduce the overall spread of COVID-19.

Guidelines Come During Precarious Travel Ban Negotiations

IATA’s recommendations come as governments around the world debate how to open borders and reopen the tourism industry. Data from the World Travel and Tourism Council suggests travel supports over 300 million jobs globally, and contributes 10.3% to the world’s total GDP.

Additional indicators suggest travelers are getting excited to start flying again. According to Cartrawler, gross bookings across the travel industry increased by 25 percent compared week-on-week, due to reduced cancellation trends and more new bookings.

Meanwhile, nations around the world are working to determine the safest ways to open borders. The European Union is reportedly considering a travel ban list, which could include the United States, Brazil and Russia.

View Comments (2)


  1. Sydneyberlin

    June 25, 2020 at 6:17 pm

    What a no-news, they’re an industry body. So of course they put cash above human life, no surprises here!

  2. weegraeme

    July 5, 2020 at 7:24 am

    Some governments around the world have already implemented “smart” precautions. It’s called quarantine

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