Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), the trade association for airports in the U.S. and Canada, released an introductory report highlighting 42 industry recommendations and priorities to assist with the restart and recovery of air travel following the coronavirus (COVID-19) health pandemic.
The initial report, put together by an industry recovery advisory panel, includes both best practices for safety within terminals, calls for continued government financial relief, legislative and regulatory initiatives, maintaining appropriate staffing levels at security and customs checkpoints and investments in contactless technology to reduce passenger touchpoints.
“Ensuring the health, safety, and security of the travelling public and airport workers is always an airport’s top priority,” said Lew Bleiweis, executive director of the Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority, and chair of ACI-NA. “The recommendations and priorities outlined by the Airport Industry Recovery Advisory Panel provide concrete, consistent, and actionable steps that will allow our industry to come back online efficiently and address ongoing needs to promote health and safety in air travel.”
Long-term recommendations include continued lobbying by the U.S. airport industry to increase the federal limit on the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC). ACI-NA notes that facility expansion is necessary to meet guidelines on physical distancing and other potential public health measures.
Both Canadian and U.S. airports also agreed to look long-term into increasing data sharing across airports along with ensuring new systems and technologies follow good practices and standards.
“North American airports responded swiftly to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 with enhanced cleaning and sanitization protocols, investments in health infrastructure, and implementation of important mitigation strategies,” said Joyce Carter, president and CEO of Halifax International Airport Authority, and chair of ACI-NA’s Canadian Policy Council. “As air travel begins to resume after a near shutdown for the last three months, it is essential the industry move forward in a coordinated way.”