IATA urges government to implement global aviation guidelines
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - June 3, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is urging governments to immediately implement the global guidelines approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for restoring air connectivity.

“The universal implementation of global standards has made aviation safe. A similar approach is critical in this crisis so that we can safely restore air connectivity as borders and economies re-open,” IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said.

The ICAO Council has approved an authoritative and comprehensive framework of risk-based temporary measures for air transport operations during the COVID-19 crisis.

De Juniac said the guidance document was built with the best expertise of government and industry, with airlines strongly in support of 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 transport workers,” he said.

The ICAO document proposes a phased approach to restarting aviation and identifies a set of generally applicable risk-based measures that seek to mitigate the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus during the travel process.

The measures include physical distancing to the extent feasible and implementation of “adequate risk-based measures where distancing is not feasible, for example in aircraft cabins.”

It also includes wearing of face coverings and masks, routine sanitation and disinfection, health screening, contact tracing, passenger declaration forms, and testing, if 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,” De Juniac said.

The Air Carriers Association of the Philippines (ACAP), for its part, said that the aviation industry has always been held to a higher standard for safety and risk management versus other forms of mass transportation.

As such, the group composed of the country’s carriers said processes and procedures that uphold the welfare and safety of passengers and personnel have been put in place to prevent the risk of infection from viruses and other contaminants.

As they resume operations of their passenger flights this month, the ACAP member airlines continue to appeal for government support to sustainably operate given the catastrophic impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 pandemic on the aviation industry.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade admitted that the future of the aviation industry is “very dicey” given so many variables involved and the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Around the world there are many airlines now declaring bankruptcy. But we are mandated locally that we protect and help assure the continued viability and operations of our local aviation partners,” he said.

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