Iata has reiterated calls for countries to comply with World Health Organization recommendations on international travel to aid the sector’s recovery.

The association said it backed the findings from the WHO’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on testing and risk management during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The recommendations include a call on countries not to require proof of vaccination as a condition of entry, with the association stating: “Iata believes that the freedom to travel across borders should not be limited to those who are able to be vaccinated. It does, however, support governments opening borders to those who have been vaccinated and that testing should also play a key role where vaccination is not possible.

“Together, testing and vaccination are key measures for states to safely reopen their borders and restore freedom of movement while managing the public health risks of Covid-19.”

Other recommendations backed by Iata include the implementation of “coordinated, time-limited, risk-based, and evidence-based approaches for health measures in relation to international traffic”; the reduction of the financial burden on international travellers for measures including testing, quarantine and vaccination; and prioritising seafarers and air crew for vaccination.

Willie Walsh, Iata director general, said: “If implemented, these recommendations will help governments manage the risks of Covid-19, keep their citizens safe and protect millions of livelihoods that are at risk.

“The goal is to safely return to more normal lives, including the freedom to travel, while managing the risks of Covid-19 which are likely to be with us for some time.”

He added: “Airlines are experts at risk management. It underpins safe and reliable daily operations. Governments should tap into the airline industry’s capabilities to help them implement efficient measures for testing and vaccination that can supersede the blunt instrument of quarantine.

“That could safely move us towards a more normal world with the freedom to travel and the opportunity to earn a living in the sector.”

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