Aviation groups lobby for the termination of Covid restrictions in Europe: Travel Weekly

The trade groups IATA and Airports Council International Europe are calling for the end of all remaining Covid-19 restrictions on travel between EU countries.

Requirements for Covid testing, presenting proof of vaccination and completing passenger locator forms should all go away, the groups said. In addition, masks should not be required for travel within or between countries where they are no longer required in other indoor environments. 

“Covid-19, and specifically the omicron variant, is now pervasive throughout all of Europe, and population immunity is at such levels that the risk of hospitalization or death has dramatically reduced, especially for vaccinated people,” the organizations said in joint press release. “States are adopting surveillance strategies to ensure public health, in the same way as they do for other coronaviruses and infectious diseases.”

IATA and ACI Europe timed the statement to coincide with the two-year anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring Covid-19 a pandemic. It also coincides with the planned release on Friday of a study that the trade groups said confirms that by the time a Covid-19 variant of concern is identified and travel restrictions are implemented, cross-border transmission will already have happened. 

The research by U.K.-based consultancies Oxera and Edge Health, which have partnered with IATA and ACI Europe on other pandemic travel-related studies, showed that even if a new variant is discovered and travel restrictions are introduced immediately, it only delays the peak of infections by a maximum of four days, the trade groups said.

IATA and ACI Europe said that non-EU members of Europe’s Schengen area, which include Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, should also eliminate restrictions on travel with EU nations and with one another. 

Thus far 10 EU and Schengen countries have implemented such policies: Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland.

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