Airports Council International (ACI) World this week published new guidance for airports to help them prepare for restart and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, including calls for governments to relax mandatory quarantine measures.

The second edition of ACI World’s “Aviation Operations during COVID-19 – Business Restart and Recovery”, provides updated best practice examples and guidance for both initial restart and longer-term recovery.

Among the recommendations is for continued use of testing to reduce reliance on quarantine, restriction of air services and movements of persons arriving in countries for essential business and tourism.

“On-airport testing should be carefully planned to ensure that it does not result in the creation of crowds, queues and additional dwell time,” the report added. “This would be counterproductive in terms of physical distancing, and also create unnecessary concerns about the safety of the aviation system, unnecessary security risks and possible safety hazards.”

The ACI-World report also called for airports and governments to be cautious using temperature screening, which has been shown to have limitations and may produce false positives and false negatives.

ACI World projects the return to business for the industry to take place in phases with the first phase being the initial restart with limited number of passengers and for mainly domestic travel. That should be followed by recovery with a slow increase in passenger volume, a gradual scale-up in capacity, and finally a return to more normal passenger volumes.

“ACI’s World Airport Traffic Forecasts reveal that recovery is likely to be uneven across the world,” said ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira in a release accompanying the updated report. “Markets with significant domestic traffic are not expected to recover to pre-COVID-19 levels before 2023 and markets with a significant share of international traffic will recover much more slowly.”

He added: “Recovery will only be possible, however, if governments can get behind aviation with policy support and assistance to pursue a coordinated and risk-based approach to combining testing and vaccination to promote travel when the epidemiological situation allows.”