Airports Council International (ACI) World and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is urging governments to bear the costs related to public health measures aimed at mitigating the spread of communicable diseases.
The industry groups said the COVID-19 pandemic has halted aviation at global level, leading to multi-billion losses in revenue and traffic and as the industry begins to restart and plan for long-term, sustained recovery, and the health and safety of its passengers and staff remain the foremost priority for airports and airlines.
To ensure the efficacy of measures implemented by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to provide global guidance for a safe, secure and sustainable restart and recovery of the aviation sector, ACI and IATA said existing roles and responsibilities of governments, airlines, airports and other operational stakeholders should be respected in implementing the response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Airlines and airport operators should also be included in national discussions to assess the practicalities of implementing the solutions proposed by ICAO to harmonize policies across jurisdictions.
WHO recommends gov'ts shoulder costs
The statement noted that there is a recognition that a patchwork of different frameworks risks confusing travellers, introducing inefficiencies and unnecessary additional compliance costs on passengers, airports and airlines.
It said the World Health Organization’s International Health Regulations also
require governments to pay the costs of health measures.
Luis Felipe de Oliveira, ACI World general director said: “As the industry navigates the complexities of restarting operations, ACI believes the cost of any health measures that are required should be borne by governments."
He noted that ACI and IATA are aligned on this issue, as set out in the Safely Restarting Aviation — ACI and IATA Joint Approach which was our input to ICAO’s TakeOff guidance and laid out that public funding of health measures should be ensured, including but not limited to infrastructure or operational changes needed for their implementation.
“The aviation industry wants to get the world moving again. We have successfully worked with ICAO and many governments worldwide to put in place standardized protocols that safeguard public health and give travellers the confidence to return to the skies. But the industry is still on the edge of a financial precipice," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.
"The extra costs of health measures mandated by governments must—as the WHO recommends—be borne by governments. That will enable the industry to focus scarce resources on reconnecting the world and boosting economic recovery,” he added.