IATA and ACI (Airports Council International) have called on governments around the world to ensure that any new measures introduced for airports and airlines in the wake of Covid-19 are supported by scientific evidence and are consistent across the globe.
“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,” said IATA in a statement.
ACI and IATA have issued a joint paper that lays out a pathway for restarting the aviation industry. Titled Safely Restarting Aviation – ACI and IATA Joint Approach, the paper has been written with input from airlines and airports to build a roadmap for resuming operations, one that is intended to reassure the travelling public that health and safety are the overriding priorities during their journey.
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 help prevent aviation becoming a factor in international re-infection. ACI and IATA say that such measures should be globally consistent and subject to continued review, improvement, and removal when no longer required, to ensure an even recovery.
Recommendations include passenger contact tracing as a pre-flight measure, and temperature screening, PPE, testing and social distancing in the terminal. On board aircraft, the partners only view enhanced cleaning procedures and face coverings – they do not view social distancing as being particularly beneficial on board.
ACI and IATA are both central members the Covid-19 Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART), led by ICAO (the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization). CART has been established to enable the collaboration among governments and between governments and industry that is vital to ensure the harmonisation and consistency of measures that are essential to restoring air connectivity and passenger confidence in air travel.
“Airports and airlines have 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,” said Angela Gittens, director general of ACI World.
“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,” she added.
IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said, “Restoring air connectivity is vital to restarting the global economy and reconnecting people. Our layered approach of 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 [aircraft]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.”