No fewer than 25 travel and tourism bodies as well as unions across Europe have asked the European Commission to replace quarantine restrictions with a European Union Testing protocol for travel, in a bid to save the livelihoods of more than 27 million Europeans who work in the sector.
In a letter addressed to the European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, the various groups said a continued lack of co-ordination and diverging travel restrictions had crippled their businesses.
The letter was signed by representatives from across the tourism and travel sector and their workers, including airlines, airports, railways, ground handlers, caterers, travel retailers, air navigation service providers, tour operators, amongst others.
This was contained in a statement dated September 18th 2020, available on the site of Airlines for Europe and titled ‘Unprecedented industry appeal to European Commission President to end quarantines and develop common EU Testing Protocol.”
Managing Director, Airlines for Europe, Thomas Reynaert said, “With an estimated 55 per cent fewer flights, an overall revenue loss of some €140bn across the European aviation industry and a growing number of frustrated travelers, it’s about time that Europe shows some leadership in getting travel restrictions coordinated properly across the continent.
“This chaotic situation requires your immediate personal involvement. We are thus urging you to make this issue a top priority and calling on you to address this issue directly with Heads of State and Government.
“We are therefore also urging you to ensure that the commission takes the lead in the development of an EU Testing Protocol for travel and its implementation to avoid quarantines and re-open borders.”
This letter is coming as the latest data from airport body, Airports Council International Europe, showed a continued decline in passenger traffic at Europe’s airports during the first two weeks of September – now standing at a loss of -73 per cent; down from sluggish ‘peak recovery level’ of -65 per cent mid-August.
Just recently, the International Air Transport Association recommended that testing be adopted in place of widespread quarantine measures.
It feared that the impact of COVID-19 on air travel would cost Nigeria and other African economies 3.5 million aviation jobs, triggering a contraction of continental Gross Domestic Product by $35bn in 2020.