Iata has appealed for consistency on Covid-safety measures at airports amid difficulties in obtaining compliance from some passengers.

Celine Canu, Iata head of aviation facilitation, said: “We are witnessing an inconsistent airport experience [and] a different response from passengers depending on their experience, whether they are used to wearing masks, whether they have been in lockdown.”

She insisted: “We understand it may not be the nicest experience, [but] we need some consistency.”

Speaking on a Centre for Aviation (CAPA) webcast, Canu said: “We are a looking at getting consistency on implementing measures, [but] it is difficult.”

Airline association Iata wants border restrictions relaxed and is in favour of testing passengers but has argued against tests on arrivals at airports – preferring tests in advance of departure to keep infected passengers from flying.

Canu said: “It is critical for governments to reopen their borders and to have some consistency in place.

“It’s critical to give passengers more confidence they can reach their destination and return home.”

But she said “On the question of tests, the best practice is to have the test before departure and not necessarily at the airport. At the moment, we feel tests at the airport might introduce more risk and complication.”

Speaking on the same webcast, Bruno Fargeon, head of the ‘keep trust in air travel’ project at Airbus, said: “Probably in the next months, one thing will be to screen passengers entering the airport. We are doing a lot with medical authorities to develop these tests.”

He said: “Passengers need certainty in travel. I can’t leave home not knowing when I can go back.”

Fargeon added: “We have had viruses in the past. We have to demystify this. On board aircraft we have an extremely controlled environment to make sure people don’t get cross infected.

“On board an aircraft is one of the most-safe environments. There is very strong filtration. The air on board is replaced every two to three minutes. There is a controlled flow of air as you fly. The probability to be contaminated on an aircraft is extremely low.”

LeAnn Ridgeway, vice president and information management services manager at aviation supplier Collins Aerospace, said: “The single biggest thing that can help us is a reduction in border restrictions.  [But] as an industry we probably have very little influence on that.

“We are doing a lot so travellers will feel comfortable when that is resolved.”