Madrid, November 19, 2020– The Spanish Airline Association ALA has welcomed the recommendation adopted by the European Commission that encourages EU member states to use rapid antigen tests to contain the spread of the virus and limit isolation and quarantine measures. This opens the door to their being accepted from travelers, in addition to defending the validation and mutual recognition of these tests and their results.
With this recommendation, the EC seeks to increase EU coordination on COVID-19 testing, guiding Member States on the use of rapid antigen testing to better manage COVID-19 outbreaks.
Javier Gándara, president of the Spanish Airline Association ALA said in a statement “We are at a momentous time for tourism and the aviation sector. The latest data from the Ministry of Health show that since May 11 to date only 0.3% of Covid cases diagnosed in Spain have been imported from another country (just 156 in the last 7 days). With these data on the table, right now we must all find a way to build trust so that citizens travel with guarantees. At ALA we work to find and support solutions that combine the best efficiency and safety to facilitate travel and build bridges and not barriers.”
The EC recommendation is in line with proposals from the airline sector, which defends the implementation of a globally harmonised COVID-19 test system, or at least within the EU, with rapid, affordable and reliable tests, easy implementation, both on the way out and on the way back, to regain confidence and restore air connectivity.
“In recent days we have seen how different organisations have indicated that the obligation to show a negative PCR [result] to enter Spain has slowed down tourist reservations, so these new EC indications open a door to mitigating risks of propagation, to be able to find a system that helps us to trace the data of a sector that already predicts a very complicated Christmas” Gándara said.
Specifically, the European Commission pointed out that “the possibility of using rapid antigen tests for travelers can be further considered, taking into account the latest scientific and technological advances in light of the epidemiological situation.” in their Recommendation on COVID-19 Testing Strategies from October 28, 2020.
The ALA say it also appreciates that the EC is recommending that Member States mutually recognise the results of rapid antigen tests, that meet the required criteria, in order to facilitate cross-border movement and thus contribute to the free movement of people and the proper functioning of the interior market in times of limited testability.