Airports Council International (ACI) World has announced its support to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in calling for universal testing of departing passengers as an alternative to restrictive quarantine measures.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the airport industry with decreased passengers and revenue in 2020. It is estimated that passenger numbers may have decreased by 5.6 billion, with a $104.5bn reduction in revenue.

Last month, ACI World called on governments to follow a consistent protocol for testing. The organisation argued that testing should be implemented only when required and as an alternative to quarantine requirements.

International borders are still closed in most countries and, where travel is allowed, passengers must carry out a 14-day quarantine.

ACI is now seeking urgent government action to introduce widespread and coordinated testing of international passengers in order to better support recovery efforts.

ACI is supporting the IATA’s call subject to the availability of effective and accurate methods of testing and on the option of running it off-site and before travel for a smooth testing process.

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ACI World director general Luis Felipe de Oliveira said: “Testing will allow people to travel in a safe and efficient manner without increasing the risk of infection or the fear of unnecessary quarantine.

“Government action is urgently required to establish globally harmonised testing measures to foster a coordinated recovery while providing reassurance to travellers.”

On behalf of airports, ACI has also urged governments to work bilaterally to develop air bridges to restart services based on demand.

ACI serves 668 members, operating 1979 airports in 176 countries as of January 2020.