American Airlines, IAG International Airlines Group, Lufthansa, and United Airlines have sent an open letter to authorities in the European Union and the United States pleading for the transatlantic air market to be reopened based on universal COVID testing.

"In addition to all the significant and unprecedented actions that governments and airlines are taking to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, a coordinated COVID-19 testing program could be key to providing confidence to permit services to resume without quarantine requirements or other entry restrictions," chief executives from each of the four groups said.

The airlines called the transatlantic market the "most indispensable corridor for global aviation". They acknowledged that universal testing would be complicated but underlined that it would also be "an excellent opportunity" for a joint action of the governments and the industry.

The letter was addressed to the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, and the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson.

Currently, the US-European market remains closed to the majority of passengers. In principle, the US does not allow passengers from the Schengen Zone, Ireland, or the United Kingdom to enter. While European Union member states do not have a common external border policy, none of them, except for Ireland, allows US residents to enter. While the United Kingdom and Ireland have not explicitly banned Americans from entry, they do require them to undergo a 14-day quarantine immediately after arrival.

Most European countries have alread removed Canada from their travel ban lists.

The letter was not signed by Delta Air Lines (DL, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson) and Air France-KLM, two other major transatlantic players.

While testing policies vary from country to country, some European nations, such as Austria, Denmark, and Germany, do offer tests-upon-arrival at some airports.