Airlines, airports want governments to bear costs of anti-COVID-19 measures

Airlines and airports operators are calling on governments to bear the costs of health checks, sanitisation and other anti-COVID-19 measures as they begin to restart air travel and prepare for a recovery.

Carriers around the world, including in the Middle East, have resumed some of their international flights, following the easing of coronavirus restrictions. A set of guidelines has been in place to ensure public safety, including social distancing, screening of passengers and disinfecting of airport facilities.

According to Airports Council International (ACI) World and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the costs related to public health measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus should be borne by governments to enable the industry to focus on recovery.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, said they have already worked with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and many governments around the world to draw up a set of protocols to protect public health and encourage travellers to return to the skies, but “the industry is still on the edge of financial precipice.”

“The aviation industry wants to get the world moving again… [But] the extra costs of health measures mandated by governments must – as the WHO (World Health Organization) recommends – be borne by governments. That will enable the industry to focus scarce resources on reconnecting the world and boosting economic recovery,” de Juniac said.

ACI World director Luis Felipe de Oliveira stressed that the health and safety of passengers and staff is paramount. “[But] 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,” de Oliveira said.

The air travel industry has been among the worst hit by the pandemic, which has caused passenger numbers to plummet. Carriers that have suffered badly have already started laying off staff and cutting salaries, to stay afloat.




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