Airports Council International (ACI) World and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) this week called on carriers, airports and governments around the world to jointly develop a program to safely restart the aviation industry with an emphasis on protecting the traveler through every part of their journey.
The new paper, “Safely Restarting Aviation – ACI and IATA Joint Approach,” includes proposed measures to minimize the risk of COVID-19 at airports and onboard aircraft, with a focus on preventing aviation from becoming a meaningful source of international re-infection.
“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,” said ACI World Director General Angela Gittens in announcing the new paper.
The proposals include recommending that governments set up internet portals to acquire required passenger data well before the traveler reaches the airport for contact tracing, and entry/exit temperature screening at airports and airplanes to reassure the traveling public and act as a deterrent for travel in case of suspected infection.
The proposals also include the use of social distancing practices and personal protective equipment (PPE) in airports, self-bag drops, and the development of immunity passports for travelers who have acquired the anti-bodies that would prevent COVID-19 infection and transmission.
As an added protection against possible in-flight transmission, the joint initiative recommends the use of face coverings by travelers in situations where physical distancing cannot be maintained, including in flight.
While stressing the risk of transmission aboard an aircraft is very low, IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac added, “Our layered approach of measures recommended by airports and airlines safeguard public health while offering a practical approach for a gradual restart of operations. 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.”