Travel Industry: Appropriate Testing Protocols A Must or U.S. Economy Will Lose $155 Billion Due to International Travel Collapse
Aviation industry groups urge the Administration to take necessary steps to safely open international travel markets
Alexandria, Virginia (September 10, 2020) In a letter released today, 18 travel and aviation industry groups called on the Administration to take coordinated and deliberate action to safely reopen international travel markets.
The letter, addressed to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II, Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf, and Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao, from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), along with groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Air Traffic Control Association, urges the Administration to take a collaborative approach between government and industry to ensure the development of standardized measures that promote needed consistency across the aviation system, including:
- Establishing Testing Protocols: Appropriate COVID-19 testing protocols will enable the reopening of international travel markets while increasing confidence in the health and safety of the air transportation system. Globally, an increasing number of governments are implementing pre-travel testing requirements or post-arrival testing regimes. We urge the U.S. government to work with the aviation industry to expeditiously establish similar protocols.
- Beginning a Limited Testing Pilot Program: There are many complexities surrounding COVID-19 testing; a globally accepted framework for testing protocols for international travel must be established. We urge the U.S. to partner with Europe, Canada, or the Pacific, to form a basis for evaluating the efficacy of such a program, while collaborating with the aviation and travel industry to chart a path forward.
- Designing, Developing, Funding, and Implementing Testing Pilots that are Medically-Based, Affordable, Dependable, Privacy-Oriented, and Adaptable for Airline/Airport Operations: Testing pilots should address key considerations, including the availability and reliability of rapid diagnostic tests that can be conducted within a reasonable time window prior to departure; engagement with key international partners to ensure U.S. tests would be accepted; and assurance of privacy protections and traveler control of sensitive health information. We urge the Administration to work with us on protocols that consider the cost, speed to receive results, validity period of test results, risk tolerance thresholds, and accuracy of the tests.
“The economic toll this pandemic has already taken on the U.S. economy is staggering,” said GBTA Interim Executive Director Dave Hilfman. “The Global Business Travel Association and our industry partners stand ready to work with the U.S. government on the implementation of testing pilot protocols so that we can restore the operation and economic vitality of the air transportation system.”
For more information on GBTA’s pandemic-related efforts, visit gbta.org.
About the Global Business Travel Association
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world’s premier business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. GBTA’s 9,000-plus members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA delivers world-class education, events, research, advocacy, and media to a growing global network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts. To learn how business travel drives lasting business growth, visit www.gbta.org.