U.S. Travel on Thursday released a statement supporting the push from the U.S. airline industry to develop a COVID-19 testing program for international flights.
“We have long maintained that testing is the key to both safer travel and reopening the economy. More rapid, efficient testing allows for a broader reopening of the travel economy, and will enable organizations to more quickly restore lost jobs and rehire workers,” U.S. Travel Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes said.
Airlines and airports have continued pushing for COVID-19 testing in order to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19, which has caused consumer confidence and passenger traffic to drop at airports around the world. That includes an IATA-led group that last month met with a United Nations task to push for COVID-19 testing requirements prior to travel instead of quarantines in order to help boost consumer desire to travel.
Some international airlines have started their own testing programs, including Air Canada, which this week announced COVID-19 testing at Toronto Airport.
U.S. Travel, in its statement, said it believes that a larger testing program could not only impact consumer confidence of Americans traveling elsewhere, but also would boost incoming international visitors, which have “effectively disappeared since the start of the pandemic.”
“Increased COVID-19 testing—paired with a federal framework of relief, protection and stimulus, as well as adherence to healthy travel habits such as wearing masks—can help shorten the recovery time and put America on the path toward an economic revival,” Emerson Barnes said.
“We applaud the U.S. airlines for their efforts to move this issue forward, and we will continue to advocate for greater federal involvement in COVID-19 testing.”
Passenger volume at TSA checkpoints across the U.S. on Thursday was 877,698, which is the highest it has been since the pandemic low-point of 87,534 in April, according to the TSA.