The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has welcomed the announcement by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that it will require all travellers to the US to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test undertaken within three days prior to their departure to the country, effective 26 January.
"Systematic pre-departure testing is key to giving governments confidence to reopen markets without quarantine. Testing will ensure that at current infection levels, aviation will not become a meaningful vector of new transmissions in the US.
"Furthermore, IATA traveller surveys show that passengers strongly support and are willing to undergo testing," said IATA's Vice President Member and External Relations, North America, Douglas Lavin.
IATA said it was encouraged by the flexibility shown by CDC in this order, in terms of accepting both antigen and PCR testing and in providing passengers who have already had COVID-19 the ability to demonstrate they are immune.
"As the efficacy of testing is confirmed, we need to move quickly to next steps--lifting travel restrictions which prevent travel from Europe and other key markets and removing quarantine requirements imposed by state and local governments in the US," said Lavin.
IATA also announced that it was developing the IATA Travel Pass, a mobile app to manage information flows around requirements for COVID-19 testing and/or vaccine/immunity information.
The IATA Travel Pass will enable travellers to receive and securely store encrypted data on their own mobile devices including verified test or vaccination results and to share this information with airlines and authorities.
IATA urged the US government to make provision to accept test and immunity documents shared electronically via the IATA Travel Pass.
"While this order presents operational challenges, we will continue to work with CDC to achieve a smooth implementation. It definitely is a big step in the right direction," said Lavin.