IATA has urged governments to quickly implement
the ICAO’s global guidelines for restoring air connectivity.
The ICAO Council has published 'Take Off' a comprehensive framework of risk-based temporary
measures for air transport operations during the COVID19 crisis.
“The universal implementation of global standards
has made aviation safe,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director
General and CEO. “A similar approach is critical in this crisis so
that we can safely restore air connectivity as borders and
economies re-open. The Take Off guidance document was built with
the best expertise of government and industry. Airlines strongly
support it. Now we are counting on governments to implement the
recommendations quickly, because the world wants to travel again
and needs airlines to play a key role in the economic recovery.
And we must do this with global harmonization and mutual
recognition of efforts to earn the confidence of travelers and air
Take Off proposes a phased approach to restarting
aviation and identifies a set of generally applicable risk-based
measures. In line with recommendations and guidance from public
health authorities, these will mitigate the risk of transmission
of the COVID19 virus during the travel process.
- Physical distancing to the extent feasible and
implementation of “adequate risk-based measures where distancing
is not feasible, for example in aircraft cabins”;
- Wearing of face coverings and masks by
passengers and aviation workers;
- Routine sanitation and disinfection of all areas
with potential for human contact and transmission;
- Health screening, which could include pre and
post-flight self-declarations, as well as temperature screening
and visual observation, “conducted by health professionals”;
- Contact tracing for passengers and aviation
employees. Updated contact information should be requested as part
of the health self-declaration, and interaction between passengers
and governments should be made directly though government portals;
- Passenger health declaration forms, including
self-declarations in line with the recommendations of relevant
health authorities. Electronic tools should be encouraged to avoid
- Testing: if and when real-time, rapid and
reliable testing becomes available.
“This layering of measures should give travelers
and crew the confidence they need to fly again. And we are
committed to working with our partners to continuously improve
these measures as medical science, technology and the pandemic
evolve,” said de Juniac.
Take Off was one element of work of the ICAO
COVID19 Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART).
The CART report to the ICAO Council
highlighted that it is of “paramount importance to avoid a global
patchwork of incompatible [aviation] health safety measures”. It urges ICAO Member States to “implement
globally- and regionally-harmonized, mutually accepted measures
that do not create undue economic burdens or compromise the safety
and security of civil aviation”.
The report also notes that COVID19 risk mitigation
measures “should be flexible and targeted to ensure that a vibrant
and competitive global aviation sector will drive the economic
“The leadership of ICAO and the commitment of our
fellow CART members have combined to quickly lay the foundation
for a safe restoration of air transport amid the COVID19 crisis.
We salute the unity of purpose that guided aviation’s stakeholders
to a solid conclusion. Moreover, we fully support CART’s findings
and look forward to working with governments for a
well-coordinated systematic implementation that will enable
flights to resume, borders to open and quarantine measures to be
lifted,” said de Juniac.
The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA)
has also welcomed the ICAO’s push to coordinate efforts in
restarting international air travel.
AAPA Director General Mr. Subhas Menon said, “We
applaud ICAO's leadership in developing such comprehensive
guidance for states and industry stakeholders in a short period of
time. We believe the timely implementation of these measures will
allow for a progressive resumption of international air travel,
whilst providing passengers and crew with the necessary assurances
that all appropriate steps are being taken to safeguard health and
safety. The ICAO task force recommendations provide a
comprehensive framework to better align national and regional
health protection measures with agreed global standards. Asian
airlines remain fully committed to working closely with government
agencies, airports and other stakeholders to ensure that air
travel remains safe, secure and convenient.”
“We urge governments to move ahead with
initiatives to restart international aviation in line with broader
recovery plans, by adopting a range of pragmatic and sensible
measures that are globally and regionally harmonized, and mutually
accepted, as outlined by ICAO. A number of countries in the Asia
Pacific region are already taking the lead by engaging in
constructive discussions with other governments to restore air
links and support the resumption of both business and leisure
travel. Trade and tourism are key contributors to economic and
social development and will be important elements in supporting
wider economic recovery,” added Mr. Menon.
The ICAO’s Take Off - Guidance for Air Travel
through the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis has been broken down
into segments - airport, aircraft, crew and cargo - which have
been cut up into modules. They can all be read