In a letter released on September 10, 18 travel and aviation industry groups called on the Trump administration to take coordinated and deliberate action to safely reopen international travel markets.
The letter, addressed to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, and Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine 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. The letter implores 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. This includes the U.S. partnering 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.
“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.”
Visit gbta.org for more information on GBTA’s pandemic-related efforts.