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A4E Urges Member States to Coordinate Reopening of EU Borders and Reinstate Freedom of Movement for European Travellers

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  • Mutual recognition of health and safety measures must be agreed to avoid drastic measures such as quarantines.
  • Coordinated lifting of travel bans and border restrictions will allow citizens to safely plan and enjoy their well-deserved summer holidays.

Airlines for Europe (A4E) today urged national governments to reopen EU borders in a truly coordinated way and reinstate freedom of movement for EU citizens as quickly and as safely as possible. EU countries must mutually recognise health and safety regulations to avoid measures such as quarantines, which are highly disruptive for travellers and will impede the swift recovery of Europe’s travel and tourism industry.

A4E welcomed recent European Commission guidelinesCOVID-19: Towards a phased and coordinated approach for the lifting of internal border controls and restoring freedom of movement, 13 May 2020 calling for a restoration of freedom of movement in the EU in a coordinated way, based on scientific advice. Ahead of tomorrow’s (20 May) meeting of EU Tourism Ministers, and in line with A4E’s Reconnect Strategy, A4E urges national authorities to:

  • Coordinate with airlines to implement these guidelines, taking into account the specific nature of the air transport sector vis a vis other modes of transport;
  • Ensure mutual recognition of health and safety regulations at a European level. This will ensure smooth air travel within the EU and enable Member States to avoid disruptive measures such as quarantines within its borders;
  • Act in full transparency and coordination for the lifting of travel restrictions and border controls, re-establishing Schengen as quickly and as safely as possible.

“Europe’s summer holidays are in sight. Travellers need assurance that they can plan their trips with confidence. For this, we need Member States to implement coordinated and consistent processes and measures across European airports. Equally important, we urge national authorities to adhere to the European Commission’s guidelines calling for ‘individually targeted measures’, as opposed to blanket measures, such as quarantines”, said Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director, Airlines for Europe (A4E).

As airlines begin a gradual return to service in the coming weeks, national and EU authorities must pursue a global and coordinated approach to health and safety measures both in the air and on the ground — with consistent standards across the sector.

Notes to Editor

• A4E continues to work closely with European and national authorities on a restoration of air transport services, as outlined in A4E’s Reconnect Strategy.

• A4E is providing input to EASA on guidance for airlines’ gradual return to operations during COVID-19.

• Air travel remains one of the safest modes of transport during a public health crisis, with a very low risk of virus transmission onboard.

• HEPA filters in modern aircraft clean cabin air to hospital operating theatre quality, further assisted by high levels of fresh air circulation.

• Research by leading national and European research institutesEuropean Centres for Disease Control; Robert Koch institute (Germany) https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Kontaktperson/Management_Download.pdf?__blob=publicationFile as well as IATAhttps://www.iata.org/en/pressroom/pr/2020-05-05-01/ and https://www.cmaj.ca/content/cmaj/192/15/E410.full.pdf confirms that there is little evidence supporting passenger-to-passenger transmission of the COVID-19 virus onboard an aircraft — even without additional protective measures in place. A4E is nevertheless recommending that all passengers wear their own face masks throughout the journey, in order to protect other passengers.

About A4E

Launched in 2016, Airlines for Europe (A4E) is Europe’s largest airline association, based in Brussels. The organisation advocates on behalf of its members to help shape EU aviation policy to the benefit of consumers, ensuring a continued safe and competitive air transport market. With more than 720 million passengers carried each year, A4E members account for more than 70 per cent of the continent’s journeys, operating more than 3,000 aircraft and generating more than EUR 130 billion in annual turnover. Members with air cargo and mail activities transport more than 5 million tons of goods each year to more than 360 destinations either by freighters or passenger aircraft. Current members include Aegean, airBaltic, Air France-KLM Group, Cargolux, easyJet, Finnair, Icelandair, International Airlines Group (IAG), Jet2.com, Lufthansa Group, Norwegian, Ryanair Holdings, Smartwings, TAP Air Portugal, TUI and Volotea. In 2019, A4E was named “Airline & Aviation Business Development Organisation of the Year” by International Transport News. Follow us on Twitter @A4Europe.