IATA's Safely Reopening Borders - A Practical Guide 

> Download latest version (30 November 2020) 

This document contains practical guidance to complement the ICAO materials to help governments assess, manage and mitigate the risks, including 1) Risk management and assessment; 2) Implementing COVID testing in the air travel journey and 3) Managing health credentials such as test results and certificates.


As the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to become more acute, there is an urgent need to reopen borders, remove travel restrictions and enable international travel to resume. Waiting for a vaccine is not a viable option; widespread vaccine roll-out may take 12-24 months.

The air travel environment is very safe; the multi-layered biosafety measures applied by the industry are highly effective such that the risks of transmission of the virus during travel are much lower than in most other settings including other activities that have restarted.

However, many States continue to impose border restrictions, or apply quarantine measures which are costly to run, while home isolation is expensive to enforce and has been shown to be ineffective. In contrast, systematic testing of international travelers, if applied properly, can significantly reduce the risk of international spread of COVID-19 through travel.

ICAO Documents

The ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) published the 2nd edition CART Take-Off Guidance that calls upon States to deploy a risk-based approach to determine appropriate mitigation measures, including testing, as part of an overall risk management strategy, and refers to ICAO’s Testing and Cross-Border Risk Management Measures Manual (Doc 10152).