Asia-Pacific and Middle East Airports are now ‘Ready for Restart’ – ACI 

(Photo: HKIA)

The Asia-Pacific branch of Airports Council International (ACI) says its recent consultation with members reveals airports across Asia-Pacific and the Middle East are ready for operations to restart. Its statement of June 10 said its members are undertaking are implementing the common public health measures documented in the recently released ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) report.

The representative body noted that its airports are already implementing such measures as requiring front-line employees to wear personal protective equipment, placing additional hand sanitiser stations throughout airport facilities, enhanced cleaning and sanitation and implementing airport-wide physical distancing for the protection of passengers.

Stefano Baronci, director general, ACI Asia-Pacific, noted that airports in the region have also widely adopted temperature checks as a health screening measure.

He commented: “We are encouraged to see the majority of public health authorities directly or jointly with airport operators deploying health screening measures such as temperature checks at the airports.

“This close cooperation between public health authorities, civil aviation authorities and airports is critical for the sector to resume operations and rebuild passengers’ confidence to travel.”

ACI Asia-Pacific said many of its airports believe that short-term measures could have a negative impact on the airport’s passenger handling capacity as the industry continues its recovery.

Mr Baronci added: “Airports are clearly expressing that the measures used during the restart will not be sustainable for the longer term. It is imperative for public health authorities, civil aviation authorities and airports to continue partnering to update and adapt health screening measures based on changing data and medical evidence as travel picks up.”

Airports anticipate the measures for the longer-term recovery will include the promotion of a health culture, engagement with local communities to rebuild confidence to travel, automating more and installing touchless technology.

ACI noted that governments and regulators are evaluating opportunities to establish travel corridors within their sub-regions to facilitate necessary travels and resume business activities. “ACI Asia-Pacific sees this as a step in the right direction that will allow airports to show the flying public it is taking a responsible approach to opening up,” Mr Baronci concluded.