Airlines and Airports Say EU’s New Travel Plan Won’t Revive Flights

(Bloomberg) — Airlines and airports said European Union moves to help restart flights in the region through a more coordinated approach to coronavirus-related travel curbs are wholly inadequate.

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A traveler at Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy, France.

The measures, adopted Tuesday, fail to propose the replacement of quarantine requirements with coronavirus tests and won’t stop states refusing entry from other EU countries, the International Air Transport Association said in a joint statement with Airports Council International and lobby group Airlines4Europe .

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The proposals backed by European Affairs Ministers seek to set a common threshold for entry restrictions, with unfettered travel allowed between areas with fewer than 25 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people for the previous 14 days, and under 4% of tests showing positive results. None of the 27 EU states is below that threshold. Neither are the rules binding on governments.

“We are pretty disappointed,” IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac said in a webcast briefing. “We were expecting the European Council at least to be open to replacing quarantines by testing.”

IATA also backs the reopening of borders between countries with similar infection rates and longer delays between the announcement of new measures and their introduction.

Countries across Europe have been sharpening restrictions after a resurgence in the pandemic, with 700,000 new cases recorded last week, the most since the start of the outbreak. That grinds against pleas by airlines to remove curbs they say are stopping people from traveling despite pent up demand.

De Juniac reiterated calls for further financial support for airlines and said he expects that some carriers won’t survive the winter at current occupancy levels. Companies in Latin America and Africa are especially exposed given a lack of state support there, he said.

ACI head Luis Felipe de Oliveira said he doesn’t expect government-owned airports to go bust but that privately controlled hubs in Canada, Europe, Asia and Latin America may be vulnerable.

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