IATA and the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) have protested some countries’ practice of imposing Covid-19 test regimes intended for passengers on flight crew.
In a statement, IATA and IFALPA note that ICAO guidelines recommend that crew not be subject to the same screening and testing as passengers. It observes that more countries are demanding proof of negative coronavirus test prior to departure, and a second negative test upon arrival.
Some regulators only allow crews with a negative test to have a layover.
“These measures not only contravene the recommended ICAO global guidance, they fail to take into account the fact that interactions with the local population are minimised,” says IATA senior vice president Gilberto Lopez Meyer.
“For example, crew on layover are often restricted to the hotel. Such measures also ignore the fact that airlines already comply with the requirements of their home country health protection and monitoring programs to manage crew health, which typically includes measures to reduce the risk of infection.”
IATA and IFALPA also add that the cost of such testing is expensive, adding and additional $950,000 to the cost of the flight over a year.
“Airlines are willing to invest in safety that delivers meaningful outcomes, but that is not the case with unilateral, uncoordinated testing requirements,” adds Lopez Mayer. “States should acknowledge that crew present a different risk profile than passengers and that more flexibility and relaxation of testing requirements and/or quarantine could be considered including exemptions.”