Airline executives are getting together to promote a joint testing program that could help to restore travel between the United States and Europe. A letter addressed to Vice President Mike Pence and European Commissioner Ylva Johansson that was signed by leaders representing British Airways, United Airlines, American Airlines, Lufthansa Group, Iberia and more urges government officials to move forward with restoring widespread air travel.
The letter highlights the importance of restarting transatlantic flights by utilizing cooperation between citizens, governments and businesses to create safe flying environments. One of the ways that airline leaders propose to do this is through a new American-European testing program that would allow travelers to resume travel without the need for intrusive quarantine measures.
We don't have a fully clear picture on what widespread airport testing would look like for airline passengers just yet. However, the idea of COVID-19 tests being administered at airports isn't something completely new. Vienna International Airport has been offering testing for arriving passengers. In addition, Iceland is now requiring visitors who wish to skip quarantine to be tested when they arrive in the country. We also have word that London's Heathrow Airport is heavily considering a COVID-19 testing option that would allow visitors to get around quarantine requirements.
It appears that many airlines see widespread testing at airports as the only way forward for restoring international travel routes. As of July, visitors arriving from the United States still cannot enter most of Europe for leisure travel. The United States also currently has its own strict travel bans in place for European countries.