World airlines and airports’ council yesterday, sought a harmonised and globally acceptable safety and security measures ahead of air travel restart is many parts of the globe.
The bodies were worried by selective safety measures like mandatory 14-day quarantine for arriving passengers in some countries including Nigeria, and physical distancing onboard, both of which have been described as injurious and unsustainable to already beleaguered aviation business.
The Airports Council International (ACI) World, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), specifically called on governments to ensure any new measures introduced for airports and airlines in the wake of COVID-19 are supported by scientific evidence and are consistent across the world.
Indeed, the aviation sector has been brought to a standstill and a balanced and effective restart and recovery depends on collaboration among the key participants in the global aviation ecosystem.
ACI and IATA jointly issued a paper laying out a pathway for restarting the aviation industry, titled: “Safely Restarting Aviation – ACI and IATA Joint Approach.” Airlines and airports have cooperated to build a roadmap for resuming operations, which reassures the travelling public that health and safety remain the overall priorities.
The joint approach proposes a layered approach of measures across the entire passenger journey to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 at airports and onboard aircraft, and to prevent aviation becoming a meaningful source of international re-infection.
Such measures should be globally consistent and subject to continued review, improvement, and removal when no longer required, to ensure an even recovery.
ACI and IATA are both central members of the COVID-19 Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART), being led by the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). CART enables the collaboration – among governments and between governments and industry – that is vital to ensuring the harmonisation and consistency of measures that are essential to restoring air connectivity and passenger confidence in air travel.
ACI World Director General, Angela Gittens, said airports and airlines had come together with ICAO and the wider aviation industry to address the biggest challenge ever faced by commercial aviation in restarting a global industry while continuing to halt the spread of COVID-19.
“There is currently no single measure that could mitigate all the risks of restarting air travel but we believe a globally-consistent, outcome-based approach represents the most effective way of balancing risk mitigation with the need to unlock economies and to enable travel,” Gittens said.
IATA’s Director-General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, added that safety was always their top priority and that includes public health.
“Restoring air connectivity is vital to restarting the global economy and reconnecting people. Our layered approach to measures recommended by airports and airlines safeguard public health, while offering a practical approach for a gradual restart of operations.
“It is important to remember that the risk of transmission on board is very low. And we are determined that aviation will not be a significant source of re-infection. We are working continuously with governments to ensure that any measures put in place are done so consistently and with scientific backing. That is key to restoring public confidence so the benefits of safely re-starting aviation can be realised,” de Juniac said.