Leaders of Europe’s coronavirus-stricken travel and tourism industries have appealed to the EU’s chief executive to press governments to end quarantine requirements and instead embrace coordinated restrictions and testing.
“This chaotic situation requires your immediate personal involvement,” a broad ad-hoc group of more than 20 industry groups including airline body IATA told European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in a letter seen by Reuters.
The appeal came as data from airports’ group ACI Europe, one of the signatories to the Sept. 17 letter, pointed to a “double-dip” air traffic slump, with passenger numbers down 73 per cent in the first two weeks of September, after a 65 per cent decline in August.
The EU executive this month proposed a common “traffic light” system designed to coordinate travel restrictions among EU states and replace the patchwork of rules and quarantine regimes blamed for the renewed collapse in travel.
But with COVID-19 cases rising, governments are reluctant to drop more drastic restrictions and quarantines – condemned by the industry as disproportionate to the risks of travel within a region where community transmission is already widespread.
Ireland, where travel curbs have been challenged in court by Ryanair RYA.I, moved on Thursday to quarantine arrivals from Italy and Greece on the basis of stricter infection-rate criteria than those proposed by the EU.
“Failure to fully implement the Commission’s proposal would kill any chances of a potential recovery,” the travel industry bodies wrote to von der Leyen.