ACI welcomes new EASA and ECDC Covid-19 air travel guidelines

(Photo: Key Archive)

The airport trade body ACI Europe has signalled a safe return to air travel, as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Centre for the Prevention for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published their anticipated Aviation Health Safety Protocol1.

Welcoming the new guidance addressed to European States on May 20, Olivier Jankovec, director general of ACI Europe, highlighted the imperative of ensuring the safest and healthiest passenger experience possible as a number of States are looking at lifting restrictions to travel – so that air connectivity can be gradually restored.
He commented: “Safety and security have always been uncompromising priorities for aviation, and both are firmly ingrained into every airport’s operations and corporate culture. Building on this track record, the Aviation Health Safety Protocol designed jointly by EASA and ECDC is fully aligned with our industry’s focus on passenger and staff wellbeing. Crucially, it has the four vital ingredients needed to contain and limit COVID-19 transmission risks during air travel. It is risk-based, effective, proportionate and practical. With this Protocol, passengers can return to air travel with confidence.”

He added: “The ball is now back at national level. We urge European States to fully adhere to what EASA and the ECDC are recommending. This is the European standard they need to follow, and they should not depart from it – so we can ensure truly uniform and coherent measures across our continent. Doing otherwise would only risk working against passenger confidence and further delay the restoration of air connectivity, and with it the recovery of travel and tourism across our continent.”
An ACI statement said that most airports have already anticipated many of the measures outlined by EASA and ECDC and will continue to work closely with their health and aviation authorities. It also stressed the importance of responsible and abiding behaviour from passengers – especially as regards the wearing of face masks, hand hygiene and limiting direct physical contact with other travellers and staff. Mr Jankovec added: “Everyone needs to embrace what is essentially a new etiquette for air travel – just as we have been doing in our daily routine for weeks. “This means effective communications will be as important as the measures themselves, and this is something ACI EUROPE has already started working on with its membership in cooperation with EASA”.

ACI Europe will shortly publish industry “Guidelines for a Healthy Passenger Experience”, which aims to further build upon the EASA and ECDC protocol and provide detailed implementation strategies as air services resume.

1Find the Aviation Health Safety Protocol here.