UK airlines and major airport operators call for a comprehensive coronavirus testing regime, without one the industry could collapse

With the UK entering its second lockdown, airlines, including Virgin Atlantic and British Airlines owner, IAG, have pleaded with the governments to consider a coronavirus testing regime. The companies strongly believe a strategic testing structure will help restore confidence in international travel after lockdown restrictions have eased.

Although airlines have consistently appealed for comprehensive coronavirus testing regimes, new research has emerged that could prove the effectiveness testing can have on the control of the pandemic. A ‘test and release’ scheme could contain up to 90% of virus cases among arrivals after just five days of quarantine.

Travellers landing in the UK from countries or regions that are considered a high risk of infection are currently required to isolated for 14 days. Therefore, the ‘test and release’ scheme could encourage travellers who were previously discouraged by volatile government restrictions and quarantine requirements.

The UK Government insists they are working towards the standardisation of travel requirements and restrictions. However, testing is not expected before new national restrictions begin to ease in December, a period when carriers usually benefit from festive travellers.

Airlines will need support during the second lockdown

If lockdown restrictions are lifted in December and testing regimes are put in place, the industry will experience a quick recovery.  IAG has already predicted that passenger demand will reach pre-pandemic levels until 2023 after the company experienced a €6.2bn ($ 6.9bn) loss in the first nine months of the year. Passenger traffic was down 78.6% year-on-year during Q3 2020, despite international flight routes becoming operational.

With IAG and other airlines forecast to experience further distress during Q4 2020 caused by the reintroduction of lockdown measures, it will not be surprising if the company appeals for more support from the government.

Latest reports from

Or to search over 50,000 other reports please visit

MarketLine Report Store

MarketLine is a sister company of this website.