IATA Applauds French Plan To Offer Covid Tests at Airports

 - October 16, 2020, 3:55 PM

This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.

The International Air Transport Association on Friday welcomed confirmation by French transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari that France will begin offering Covid-19 testing at Paris Charles De Gaulle and Orly International Airports by the end of the month. Appearing on French television, Djebbari said France will administer the tests for passengers leaving for countries such as the U.S. and Italy, as well as for passengers arriving from countries deemed high-risk. French newspaper La Tribune reported that testing could begin as soon as next week at Paris Charles de Gaulle and Orly Airports.  

“We congratulate and strongly encourage the French government to set up quickly and show the way,” IATA said in a tweet. “Testing is the answer to help air travel restart safely and save thousands of jobs!”

IATA since last month has advocated for rapid Covid testing at airports to replace quarantine measures, which the group insists represent the biggest barrier to rejuvenating demand for air travel. However, the group recently criticized what they regard as the European Union leaders' failure to harmonize Covid-related travel restrictions between member states following Tuesday’s adoption by European Affairs ministers of a European Council recommendation on a coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement.

Late last month IATA called for universal Covid testing for international passengers and for governments to end quarantine measures. During a conference call with media, IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac said that quarantine requirements “are killing” airline efforts to recover from the pandemic and that testing all passengers before they travel should allow governments to completely end the practice.  

IATA advocates for antigen tests, which de Juniac said testing providers will have ready by October. On the issue of speed, the tests would take no longer than 15 minutes to yield results, as opposed to the more common polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which typically take days. The group has also called for governments to bear testing costs, each of which amounts to about $10, said de Juniac.