The Chair of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications Networks has called for non-essential international travel advice to be changed.

Kieran O'Donnell said increased testing could allow for further international travel in a safe way and that this is a view shared by all committee members.

He was speaking during the launch of the committee's report on 'Issues affecting the aviation industry'.

The report sets out a series of measures to assist recovery in the sector, including mandatory antigen testing for passengers arriving into Ireland from 'orange' and 'red' countries.

The committee said the measure would ensure that people do not have to restrict their movements after arriving in Ireland, and it would also negate the need for a further test after they have arrived.

Overall, the report sets out 20 recommendations.

Among them is to agree a coronavirus testing system with the US and Canada, so that Irish citizens can travel to and from both countries without the need to restrict their movements.

Fianna Fáil's Timmy Dooley said he hoped the measure could be implemented by Christmas.

There is also a recommendation that Government adopt a traffic light system for countries outside the EU.

Sinn Féin's Darren O'Rourke said all recommendations were underpinned by the need to strength test and tracing infrastructure.

The report also calls for the establishment of a State Airports Authority, to ensure regional balance when the sector begins to recover.

Clare TD Cathal Crowe welcomed the measure, adding that in his opinion, the separation of Shannon Airport from the Daa did not work.

Labour's Duncan Smith said that as a Dublin TD, he also believed that regional balance had not been achieved.

Dublin and Cork airports operator Daa said it welcomed the report's recommendations in relation to the introduction and acceptance of rapid pre-departure antigen testing,

Daa also said it welcomed the recommendation that the proposed Airport Charges Rebate Scheme be extended to September 2021 but believes that the scheme could be extended even further. 

"Dublin and Cork airports are at the heart of an aviation eco-system that is vital to the Irish economy and that eco-system has been devasted by the impact of Covid-19 this year," Daa chief executive Dalton Philips said in a statement. 

"Data from Eurocontrol, which overseas air traffic control throughout 41 European states, shows that that Ireland's connectivity has been among the most damaged during the pandemic," he added.

Aer Lingus also welcomed the report.

"We strongly support the report's call for Government to develop a clear strategy to safely increase levels of international travel in 2021 by encouraging consumer confidence with respect to air travel within the European Union based on the EU traffic light rules-based system, and to third countries where bilateral arrangements are in place," it said.

"Increasing levels of air travel between Ireland and the USA is critical to our business and to the wider Irish economy in 2021. We support the report's recommendation that Government formally engage bilaterally with the US and Canada with a view to lifting the entry ban on Irish citizens and establish an agreed testing protocol to avoid the need for restriction of movement or quarantine from those counties."

Fórsa spokesperson Ashley Connolly, said the union welcomed the report's recommendation for the development of a new national aviation policy.

"Fórsa has continued to emphasise the strategic importance of our aviation industry since this crisis began. Its survival beyond this crisis demands a well-coordinated and integrated national policy, and for this policy to remain a priority for Government," she said.