Airlines and airports welcome EC guidelines as encouraging step towards recovery 

Photo: Mick Dodsworth

IATA and ACI Europe have welcomed the May 13 issuance by the European Commission (EC) of a comprehensive framework aimed at effectively coordinating the restoration of transport services and allowing European citizens to safely plan their summer holidays.
The two organisations said their absolute priority in preparing for the restart of flights is the health and safety of passengers and staff. They said the Commission’s package of Guidelines, placing emphasis on medically effective methods to protect health whilst enabling economic recovery, show industry and policy makers to be working to fully aligned and shared goals.

Both parties said they fully support these EC Guidelines, which provide EU States with comprehensive and articulated guidance for lifting current travel and border restrictions and for restoring air connectivity. They added that their timing is now crucial, as the epidemiological situation in Europe has started to improve, and tourism and local economies across Europe urgently need positive action to embark on the vitally important summer season.
Following the EC’s statements, ACI Europe and IATA said they urged European States to:

  • Effectively follow this guidance and actively cooperate with airlines, airports and other aviation stakeholders in its further development and implementation – in ways that reflect the specific circumstances of air transport. A co-operative and open approach to the new normal will result in the best outcomes for society and the economy alike.
  • Support the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) by continuously reporting on their epidemiological situation at national, regional and local level, so travel restrictions can be lifted as soon as the health situation allows – thus reflecting the EC’s emphasis on timely reviews to ensure proportionate measures.
  • Act in a coordinated and fully aligned way as regards the lifting of travel restrictions and border controls.

Their joint statement said that airlines and airports stand ready to play their part in supporting aviation and health authorities and noted that they both already apply stringent standards of hygiene to their respective operations.

They added: “At the same time, the specific nature of our infrastructure and operations means that workable solutions must be found.

“We applaud the Commission’s recognition of this fact in the measures outlined, for example in the feasibility of physical distancing in the aviation environment.

“IATA and ACI have closely cooperated on these issues over the past weeks, and are releasing today their joint industry guidance: Safely Restarting Aviation: Joint IATA & ACI position.”