Two major aviation groups are calling on Europe to lift all COVID-related restrictions, citing a recent study that shows the effects of those measures are limited.
The Airports Council International Europe (ACI) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) called for “all remaining COVID restrictions applying to intra-EU and Schengen area travel to be dropped, including all testing requirements, the need to present proof of vaccination, or complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF),” reads a statement.
ACI Europe is a trade group representing over 500 airports in 55 countries, covering over 90 percent of commercial air traffic in Europe. IATA represents 290 airlines in 120 countries and carries 83 percent of air traffic worldwide.
The two groups listed two main reasons for their proposal: the risk of hospitalization or death has been dramatically reduced because of herd immunity and many European states have lifted domestic COVID restrictions.
“As European countries open up and remove restrictions, it is only logical to remove similar restrictions from air transport,” they stated.
ACI Europe and IATA also cited a recent study (pdf) to support their motion.
COVID-related travel restrictions will not prevent the spreading of the virus, only delay the peak for a very short period of time, the research conducted by OXERA and Edge Health says.
“Even if travel restrictions were pre-emptively introduced, or could be put in place on the day the variant is first imported, they would not have an impact on limiting the peak of cases, and would only delay the peak by a maximum of four days,” the study says.
Based on the information provided by OXERA and Edge Health, they maintain a close relationship with the aviation industry and have been strongly advocating against COVID restrictions.
Currently, 10 countries including Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, and Switzerland have removed all intra-EU/EEA travel restrictions, according to the aviation groups.
In the United States, the Biden administration extended its mask mandate for public transportation on Thursday.
“At CDC’s recommendation, TSA will extend the security directive for mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs for one month, through April 18th,” the CDC and TSA said in identical statements released separately.
The mandate, which stems from a CDC order issued on Jan. 29, 2021, and applies to transportation such as trains and transportation hubs such as airports, had been due to expire on March 18.
Zachary Stieber contributed to the report.