ACI Asia-Pacific calls for end to quarantine and introduction of testing for aviation

By replacing quarantine with testing and contact tracing protocols, ACI Asia-Pacific outlines that the aviation industry will be able to recover quicker.

ACI Asia-Pacific calls for end to quarantine and introduction of testing for aviation

Airports Council International (ACI) Asia-Pacific is urging governments to replace quarantine requirements with testing and contact tracing protocols in order to ensure the aviation industry’s survival amid a worsening situation for airports in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. 

The latest preliminary forecast figures show that Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern airports will lose 55 per cent and 60 per cent in passenger volumes by the end of the 2020, respectively. Airport revenues, a direct reflection of traffic, are forecasted to decline by approximately $27 billion in the Asia-Pacific region and $8 billion in the Middle East by the end of 2020.  

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Asia-Pacific was set to welcome close to 3.5 billion passengers in 2020. The full year estimate now amounts to just above 1.5 billion passengers, representing a reduction of around 1.9 billion passengers, compared to the pre-COVID-19, business-as-usual scenario. The Middle East was set to welcome 420 million in 2020. Under COVID-19, Middle East airports are now expected to welcome 170 million passengers; a reduction of 250 million. 

Director General of ACI Asia-Pacific, Stefano Baronci, said: “The latest ACI forecast depicts an ongoing uncertain picture for the airport sector. To put the revenue loss in perspective, it equates to wiping out the revenues of 27 of the regions’ busiest hubs. We are now facing at least a three-year recovery period.”

The airport sector has implemented a raft of precautionary health and hygiene measures in anticipation of the restart of the sector. However, current government travel restrictions and quarantine requirements are severely hampering the restart and contributing to the worsening economic situation. 

ACI Asia-Pacific is now urging governments to no longer delay relaxing international travel restrictions by replacing quarantine requirements with testing and contact tracing protocols, at least between low-risk countries where the virus situation is well under control and the risk of importation is low. 

Baronci continued: “Governments should relax current travel restrictions and consider alternative safeguarding measures to ensure the survival of the aviation sector based on a periodically updated risk assessment. The recent announcement from the government of Singapore replacing the 14-day quarantine with COVID-19 testing for all inbound passengers from some low-risk countries is a first step in the right direction to support the economic recovery of the aviation ecosystem.”

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