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Airlines Urge US and European Union for a Joint COVID-19 Testing Program to Instill Confidence Among Travelers

United, Lufthansa Grouop, American Airlines and International Airlines Group (IAG) have requested the United States and European Commission for a safe and swift restoration of air travel between the United States and Europe. In a letter to Mike Pence, Vice President of United States and Ylva Johanson, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Scott Kirby, Chief Executive Officer, United; Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board & Chief Executive Office; Doug Parker, Chief Executive Officer, American Airlines and Willie Walsh, Chief Executive Officer, IAG have jointly urged to consider adopting a joint U.S.-EU COVID-19 testing program to enhance safety and build confidence in critical transatlantic passenger air services.

T3 reproduces the letter below:

Dear Leaders:

As the leading airline groups in Europe and the United States, we are writing with urgency to you as leaders of the response to COVID-19 to request the safe and swift restoration of air travel between the United States and Europe. We urge you to consider adopting a joint U.S.-EU COVID-19 testing program to enhance safety and build confidence in critical transatlantic passenger air services.

The response to this crisis continues to require the cooperation of governments, citizens and businesses on both sides of the Atlantic. Regarding passenger airline travel, we appreciate the leadership of aviation safety and health bodies within U.S. and EU institutions in issuing comprehensive guidelines to maximize the safety and health of passengers, crews and personnel at each step of the travel journey. These guidelines have much in common and form a solid basis on which to restart transatlantic travel safely. Many airlines and airports have also taken significant steps to protect passenger and employee health that often go beyond the government guidelines.

Given the unquestioned importance of transatlantic air travel to the global economy as well as to the economic recovery of our businesses, we believe it is critical to find a way to re-open air services between the U.S. and Europe. In addition to all the significant and unprecedented actions that governments and airlines are taking to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, a coordinated COVID-19 testing program could be key to providing confidence to permit services to resume without quarantine requirements or other entry restrictions. COVID-19 testing is becoming more and more common throughout the world as a tool to avoid these other more intrusive measures. We recognize that testing presents a number of challenges, however we believe that a pilot testing program for the transatlantic market could be an excellent opportunity for government and industry to work together and find ways to overcome obstacles and explore all solutions to protect health, build confidence, and safely restore passenger travel between the U.S. and Europe.

Nobody will benefit from a prolonged closure of this most indispensable corridor for global aviation.

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