The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA)
has urged governments to ease what it says are unduly onerous
restrictions on international air travel so that global connectivity
can be re-established with evidence-based measures
to safeguard public health.
More than six months into the COVID19 pandemic,
the Asia Pacific air transport industry is taking initial steps
towards restarting international operations by working closely
with governments, health authorities and other stakeholders.
However, most international flights worldwide continue to be
grounded by border closures, and other travel restrictions, even
as domestic lockdowns are gradually eased.
The economic consequences of such shutdowns
are far reaching, with the travel and tourism sectors amongst the
hardest hit. Airline failures and major job losses have been
announced within the industry, and are expected to become more widespread as
the crisis becomes prolonged.
Mr. Subhas Menon, AAPA Director General
said, "International isolation is not a sustainable long term
solution for any government given the importance of travel and
trade in supporting global economic and social activity. After
more than six months, the lack of a framework encompassing
harmonized or mutually recognized measures that are pragmatic,
consistent and based on robust risk assessment, will not only
irretrievably hurt the region's airlines, but more importantly,
negatively impact the region's tourism and trade prospects, as
well as millions of livelihoods. We must take a pragmatic approach
to restarting flights gradually while mitigating risks to restore
confidence and trust in the reliability of everyday air travel."
Whilst there have been
discussions about opening up international air corridors - or
travel bubbles, green lanes and fast channels, as they are also
called - most such initiatives have so far failed to take off, and
the different regulations with regards to enforced quarantine,
self-isolation, self-quarantine and even recommended quarantine,
only make such goals more difficult to attain, and confusing for
"Quarantine measures should only be applied
selectively for passengers originating from higher risk locations.
Another critical area for cooperation is reaching a common
understanding on the use of COVID19 testing as a further risk
mitigation measure in screening international passengers, based on
mutual acceptance. Restoring international air
connectivity is a shared challenge. We are calling on all
governments to work cooperatively to re-establish global
connectivity whilst maintaining appropriate measures to safeguard
public health. Asia Pacific airlines remain fully committed to
working closely with governments and other industry stakeholders
to progressively restore international air links in a safe and
secure manner, serving the needs of the travelling public and
enabling the industry to continue to fulfil its key role in
supporting wider global economic recovery," Mr. Menon added.
Airports, Air Travel and COVID19 - Exclusive Video Interview
with SITA's President of Asia Pacific, Sumesh Patel.