IATA has called on regulators to take urgent action to help civil aviation operate seamlessly and safely between states during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to help facilitate the restart when the virus is contained. Specifically, IATA asked states to take the following immediate steps:
- Work with the aviation industry to find temporary measures to ensure that licenses and certificates critical to managing aviation safety are extended to remain valid;
- File their temporary measures with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO);
- Recognise the measures of other states that are filed with ICAO.
IATA noted that many aviation regulators around the globe have already taken the necessary steps to provide airlines and licensed crew with the required flexibility, such as extensions to the validity periods for licenses, ratings and certificates, so operational capabilities can be maintained. However, it said that to be effective, these measures must be filed with ICAO so that they can be visible to and recognised by counterpart states. Without such mutual recognition, it said airlines are faced with uncertainty over whether they might be restricted by the states whose territory they enter.
Gilberto Lopez Meyer, IATA’s senior vice president, safety and flight operations, commented: “Safety is always the top priority. We therefore commend ICAO for their swift action to facilitate the sharing of states’ temporary regulatory extensions, making it easier for states to extend their mutual recognition.’’
IATA explained that, at present, many of the world’s aviation regulators are not able to perform their standard administration of various licenses, as their operations have also been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. In order not to further impede global aviation, ICAO has established its COVID-19 Contingency Related Differences (CCRD) system. This enables all states to record any differences to their standard policies and to make a clear statement that they accept other states’ differences through a new form. This, it said, will ensure safe continuity of flights between countries in a harmonised, documented process.