Aviation: new European guidelines for safe and more efficient air travel

People travelling during the COVID-19 pandemic should not automatically be considered a high risk for spreading infection unless they have been in known contact with a confirmed positive case, according to new European guidelines for air travel. Based on the latest science, the guidelines published today by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) conclude that the number of new coronavirus cases among travellers is estimated to be lower than is the case for the general population. In addition, the measures already put in place for aviation minimise the likelihood of transmission during flying. The ECDC and EASA do not recommend generalised measures such as the testing or quarantine of air travellers in the current epidemiological situation. Instead, the guidelines strongly recommend providing travellers with comprehensive information on the epidemiological situation in their destination country, and the on measures in place at airports and on-board planes to prevent transmissions. This document supports Member States in making informed decisions on the best possible measures and provides clarity to Europeans when travelling by air. Adina Vălean, Commissioner for Transport, said: “As we need to maintain vigilance and physical distancing, scientific evidence presented today by EASA and ECDC recommends that travellers should not be treated as high risk for COVID-19 transmission when traveling between countries with the same epidemiological situation. I welcome these guidelines as a contribution to ensure science-based, more effective and harmonised measures for air transport.” Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Public Health and Food Safety said: “The end of the year festivities will be different this year. This is inevitable. This year saving lives must come first. We do not want to cancel Christmas – we want to make it safe for everyone. Ahead of the winter holidays, I welcome the new European guidelines on testing and quarantine for air travellers by the ECDC and EASA. Today’s guidelines help with a coordinated approach needed in Europe to make sure travel is safe. Such clear information on testing, isolation and quarantine rules will help avoid confusion and offer clarity for all over this winter period.” The new Guidelines for COVID-19 Testing and Quarantine of Air Travellers are published jointly by the ECDC and EASA.