Iata boss Alexandre de Juniac has said there is no single measure that will reduce risk and enable flying to restart safely amid the coronavirus crisis.
The association has set out a biosecurity "roadmap" comprising measures to guard against the spread of Covid-19 throughout the passenger journey pre- and post-flight.
Iata has been vocal in its opposition to quarantine on arrival solutions imposed by several governments, and insists temperature screening and contact tracing were more effective tools in the fight against coronavirus.
It has also echoed suggestions from across the aviation sector, most notably Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary, that onboard social distancing was impractical, ineffective and unviable.
De Juniac, Iata general general and chief executive, warned the sector had only a short period to reach an agreement on initial standards to safely reconnect the world in a "harmonised" way, warning a failure to act now risked "many painful years recovering ground that should not have been lost".
Iata said the roadmap’s objectives were two-fold: to give governments confidence to reopen borders to passengers travel; and to give passengers confidence to return to flying.
Pre-flight, Iata expects governments to introduce health data requirements, which it believes can be managed in a similar fashion to existing e-visa and Esta programmes.
It envisages changes to the airport passenger journey, with terminal access limited to airport and airline staff and passengers; temperature screening at point of entry; physical distancing at all stages of the journey; face covering requirements for passengers and staff; reducing contact by shifting to remote/online check-in, electronic and/or home printed boarding passes, automated bag drops and self-boarding; more efficient boarding processes through redesigned gate areas to reduce congestion and hand luggage limitations; and enhanced cleaning and sanitisation, including wide availability and provision of hand sanitiser.
In-flight, passengers would be required to wear face coverings and staff non-surgical masks; cabin service and catering would be reduced to limit passenger-crew contact and interactions; toilet queues would be banned and there would be reduced movement in the cabin; and crew would undertake deeper and more frequent cabin cleaning.
On arrival, passengers would undergo temperature screening again; customs and border controls would be automated using mobile apps and biometric technologies; baggage reclaim would be sped up to limit passenger congregation; passengers would have to submit health declarations, and governments commit to contact tracing.
Iata believes these measures would negate the need for any quarantine measures, and suggests they should be implemented temporarily and subject to constant review as more efficient options become viable and measures become unnecessary.
In particular, Iata has identified two key "game-changers" that could help restore aviation in lieu of a vaccine, namely accurate, fast, scalable pre-flight testing; and the introduction of so-called "immunity passports" to segregate no-risk travellers.