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Aviation Groups Call for COVID-19 Testing Protocols

A coalition of 18 international airline and aviation groups is asking U.S. government leaders to help set COVID-19 testing protocols to address passenger concerns and bolster the depressed international travel market.

The coalition, through a letter sent to three cabinet secretaries, calls for the federal government to establish “a globally accepted framework for testing protocols for international travel.”  The request comes as the United States and the United Kingdom discuss virus protections aimed at reopening travel between the two countries.

“Coordinated and deliberate action must be taken to safely reopen the international travel market,” the letter said. “A collaborative approach between governments and industry will help to ensure the development of standardized measures that promote needed consistency across the aviation system.”

U.S. and U.K. officials are discussing setting coronavirus protocols that would permit limited travel to resume between the two countries, according to a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration.  U.S. agencies that oversee health, aviation, transportation and security are involved in the talks, the TSA said.

The U.S. government in July published guidelines for safe travel during the pandemic called Runway to Recovery, but has so far declined to establish rules for virus-related safety on airline flights.  It has also spurned repeated requests by the industry for specific actions, such as using airport security agents to conduct temperature screening of passengers.

Signatories to the letter include Airlines for America; Aerospace Industries Association; International Air Transport Association; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  The coalition acknowledges that testing for COIVD-19 is a complex issue and, at times, controversial, which is why the coalition believes the government needs to be involved to evaluate the protocols and their potential value.