The world’s largest airline trade group has called for immunity passports, thermal screening, masks, and physical distancing to be a part of the industry’s strategy for returning to “normal” operations.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents 299 airlines, recently issued their publication, Biosecurity for Air Transport A Roadmap for Restarting Aviation, which outlines their strategy to open up air travel as governments begin to lift travel restrictions.
Under a section titled, “The passenger experience” and “Temporary biosecurity measures,” the IATA describes their vision of post-COVID-19 flights. The organization calls for contact tracing, a controversial method of tracking the civilian population to track the spread of COVID-19.
“We foresee the need to collect more detailed passenger contact information which can be used for tracing purposes,” the report states. “Where possible, the data should be collected in electronic form, and in advance of the passenger arriving at the airport including through eVisa and electronic travel authorization platforms.”
Interestingly, this call for pre-boarding check-in using “electronic travel authorization platforms” coincides with the recent announcement of the Covi-Pass and the Health Pass from Clear, both of which call for a digital ID system using biometrics and storing travel, health, and identification data.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s CEO, told Arabian Industry that “a layered approach” combining multiple measures which are “globally implemented and mutually recognized by governments” are “the way forward for biosecurity.”
The IATA also calls for temperature screening at entry points to airport terminals. They envision the airline experience involving physical distancing of 3-6 feet throughout the airport. The group believes changes to the airport buildings to allow for physical distancing may be necessary. The IATA also recommended “face coverings” for passengers and protective equipment for airline and airport staff.
Although the organization acknowledged that there is not currently a fast reliable test for COVID-19, they believe that once an effective test is developed it could be applied on entry to the terminal. They call for this measure to be “incorporated into the passenger process as soon as an effective test, validated by the medical community, has been developed.”
On the topic of immunity passports — an idea discussed by Anthony Fauci, the World Health Organization, and Bill Gates — the IATA states that “immunity passports could play an important role in further facilitating the restart of air travel.” The organization believes that if a person is shown to have recovered from COVID-19 and developed immunity they will not need protective measures. Once medical evidence supports the possibility of immunity to COVID-19, IATA believes “it is essential that a recognized global standard be introduced, and that corresponding documents be made available electronically.”