American, United, Lufthansa Group and International Airlines
Group (parent of British Airways) are calling for the creation of a joint
U.S-European Union Covid-19 testing program to facilitate the restart of transatlantic
In a letter Tuesday to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and
European commissioner for home affairs Ylva Johansson, the airlines called for
the program to begin with a pilot project.
“In addition to all the significant and unprecedented
actions that governments and airlines are taking to prevent the spread of the
Covid-19 virus, a coordinated Covid-19 testing program could be key to
providing confidence to permit services to resume without quarantine requirements
or other entry restrictions,” reads the letter, which was signed by the CEOs of
the four companies.
Currently, the U.S. bans travelers from the EU and the U.K.
The EU has opened its borders to citizens of a dozen countries but not the U.S.
The airlines said that resuming U.S.-EU travel is urgent and
should be done swiftly for the benefit of the global economy. A reopening, they
said, is also key to their own struggling businesses.
They noted that Covid-19 testing has become increasingly
common around the world as a tool to avoid stricter health safety measures.
Lufthansa has implemented its own Covid-19 testing program
for passengers arriving in its Munich and Frankfurt hubs from abroad.