The National Air Carrier Association (NACA) in the USA has issued an initial set of principles that it recommends for the resumption of regular commercial flight operations in the wake of Covid-19. Named ‘SAFETY’, the plan outlines actions that NACA believes must be taken to ensure that the US airline industry can restore public confidence and be a safe catalyst for economic recovery.
“The SAFETY principles are a critical first step in what we believe should be a collaborative planning process between the federal government and industry stakeholders for US airlines to resume normal flight operations when it is safe to do so,” said NACA president and CEO, George Novak. “The US airline industry will be a vital component of America’s economic recovery. To be successful, the public must be confident that they can fly with us without risking infection from Covid-19.”
SAFETY is an acronym, referring to:
- Safety: Every effort must be taken to ensure that passengers, crews and those working on aircraft are protected from further exposure to the Covid-19 virus
- Access: Access to air travel – and the resulting consumer spending at hotels, restaurants, resorts and retail establishments – will be a critical element of economic recovery
- Flexibility: Airlines must have the flexibility to shift aircraft and routes to meet demand as it ebbs and flows during the recovery
- Economic viability: Restrictions on air travel cannot be so stringent that passengers can’t fly easily and affordably, and airlines can’t return to profitability and protect jobs
- Testing: The federal government must work quickly and methodically to deploy a measured approach to Covid-19 testing in airports that utilises the latest technologies for both screening (e.g., non-contact temperature scanning and effective antibody testing) and credentialing (biometric or tamper-proof identification systems) for those safe to fly and interact with others
- You: The most critical element in returning to the skies is you, the passenger. More than anything else, aviation cares about passenger health and safety and helping us all return to better days.
“America’s economic recovery will require enormous, coordinated efforts from governments, industries and people across the nation,” Novak added. “We look forward to working with all stakeholders to plan for resuming regular activities and hope the SAFETY principles serve to kickstart those discussions.”