The main trade group for the global aviation industry International Air Transport Association (IATA), has issued five “key principles” to help re-start the industry and also expanded on its earlier “layered approach” to biosafety for the flying public and the crews that serve them on the ground and in the air as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the industry.
The director general of IATA, Alexandre de Juniac, said during the association’s weekly media conference call, that the declaration of the five principles “is important because it demonstrates the industry’s unity of purpose and commitment to work with our stakeholders to safely re-connect our world. We hope that it will send a strong message to governments that they must also work together. COVID-19 is a global health crisis and a global economic crisis. Aviation is the crossroads of both”.
IATA and Airports Council International ACI on Wednesday 20 May jointly issued a paper laying out a pathway for restarting the aviation industry – Safely Restarting Aviation – ACI and IATA Joint Approach, which lays out some of the same positions as IATA mentioned on its media callDe Juniac, as he has in the recent past, called on governments and other organisations involved in aviation to cooperate on standards and measures to avoid the pitfalls that arise in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in the US, which he called a “mess” because “governments acted unilaterally. This created confusion for airlines and travellers alike. And it took many years to clean up”.
“We have a small window to avoid these mistakes with COVID-19 by agreeing global standards for a re-start,” de Juniac said. “In doing so, we must build in measures for continuous review so that we can streamline the system as science and technology evolve. There is reason to be optimistic. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is leading an initiative called CART. That is the COVID-19 Aviation Recovery Task Force. And it is working well and fast. Our proposals are in support of that process.
“If we are successful in a smooth re-start for aviation that will pay big benefits in solving the economic dimension of the COVID-19 challenge,” de Juniac added. “The shape and size of the industry may change as a result of this crisis. But aviation will remain a critical support for vast sectors of the economy. The sooner we can safely reconnect the world, the more jobs can be saved. And, combined with economic stimulus packages, a reconnected world will be a solid foundation for economic recovery.”
IATA’s five principles for re-connecting the world by air transport
- Aviation will always put safety and security first: Airlines commit to work with our partners in governments, institutions and across the industry to implement a science-based biosecurity regime that will keep our passengers and crew safe while enabling efficient operations and ensure that aviation is not a meaningful source for the spread of communicable diseases, including COVID-19.
- Aviation will respond flexibly as the crisis and science evolve: Airlines commit to work with our partners in governments, institutions and across the industry to utilise new science and technology as it becomes available, for example, reliable, scalable and efficient solutions for COVID-19 testing or immunity passports and develop a predictable and effective approach to managing any future border closures or mobility restrictions as well as ensure that measures are scientifically supported, economically sustainable, operationally viable, continuously reviewed, and removed/replaced when no longer necessary.
- Aviation will be a key driver of the economic recovery: Airlines commit to work with our partners in governments, institutions and across the industry to re-establish capacity that can meet the demands of the economic recovery as quickly as possible and ensure that affordable air transport will be available in the post-pandemic period.
- Aviation will meet its environment targets: Airlines commit to work with our partners in governments, institutions and across the industry to achieve our long-term goal of cutting net carbon emissions to half of 2005 levels by 2050 and successfully implement the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).
- Aviation will operate to global standards which are harmonised and mutually recognised by governments: Airlines commit to work with our partners in governments, institutions and across the industry to establish the global standards necessary for an effective re-start of aviation, particularly drawing on strong partnerships with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and ensure that agreed measures are effectively implemented and mutually recognised by governments.