Airlines association Iata has called on governments to ensure travel is not “put out of reach” of holidaymakers this summer by the high costs of Covid-19 tests.
Research by Iata on Covid testing costs across 16 countries, including the UK, showed “wide variations by markets and within markets”, with only France meeting the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation that governments should “bear the cost” of testing for travellers.
Across the other 15 countries analysed, Iata found that the cost of PCR tests ranged from $90 to $208 on average.
Iata called for governments to ensure that Covid testing options “must be affordable as well as timely, widely available and effective”.
Willie Walsh, Iata’s director general, said: “As travel restrictions are lifted in domestic markets, we are seeing strong demand. The same can be expected in international markets.
“But that could be perilously compromised by testing costs – particularly PCR testing. Raising the cost of any product will significantly stifle demand.
“The impact will be greatest for short-haul trips (up to 1,100 kilometres), with average fares of $105, the tests will cost more than the flight. That’s not what you want to propose to travellers as we emerge from this crisis. Testing costs must be better managed.
“That’s critical if governments want to save tourism and transport jobs; avoid limiting travel freedoms to the wealthy.”