The Belgian Association of Travel Management (BATM) has joined
13 other organisations in writing an open letter to the Belgian health minister
Frank Vandenbroucke calling for the acceptance of rapid antigen tests for
travel purposes in the country.
The organisations, which include Air Belgium and the
Brussels Airport Company, wrote that “the current patchwork of measures
implemented by each state and region is making air travel an extremely
difficult and an unpredictable activity” and called on Belgium to fall into
line with neighbouring countries and most other European member states.
“Restarting international aviation will energise the
economic recovery from Covid-19. Along with vaccines, testing will play a
critical role in giving governments the confidence to re-open their borders to
travellers. For governments, the top priority is accuracy. But travellers will
also need tests to be convenient and affordable since the cost of PCR testing
can completely alter the economics of travel,” they wrote.
In real world conditions, antigen testing is as effective
as PCR testing in reducing the risk of cross-border transmission. Meanwhile the
cost and bureaucracy of PCR tests adds huge burdens to…businesses looking to
travel. These are important considerations in the preparing for a successful restart.“