The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the release by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) of the COVID-19 Aviation Health Safety Protocol guidelines for the safe restart of air transport in Europe.
The EASA and ECDC guidelines are aligned with recommendations provided by both the airline and airport sector for a layered approach of temporary measures to protect public health while allowing viable air services to help drive the European economic recovery. But the guidelines will only be effective if all European states deliver harmonized implementation and mutually recognize each other’s efforts. Failure to do so would harm public confidence in the aviation system, with negative consequences for the economy, and jobs.
Key measures in the EASA guidelines include:
• Physical distancing at the airport should be maintained. Terminal infrastructure, such as with baggage drop and claim, and at security, should be optimized to prevent queuing
• The wearing of masks at all times in the airport and on board is recommended, as is provision of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to staff
• Enhanced cleaning procedures in both the airport and aircraft are recommended, especially for frequently-touched surfaces
• Where allowed by the passenger load, cabin configuration and mass and balance requirements, airlines should ensure, to the extent possible, physical distancing among passengers. Family members and individuals travelling together as part of the same household can be seated next to each other.
“EASA and ECDC has delivered a sensible framework for restarting aviation while protecting public health. The guidance is clear that while airlines should seek to maintain physical distancing where practicable, flexibility on seating arrangements is permitted. And quarantine requirements are not necessary. But it is absolutely essential that all European states apply these guidelines in a harmonized and mutually recognized way. Local deviations and exceptions will damage public confidence and make it harder to operate effectively. This would be harmful to public health and the economic recovery. IATA will support states to implement these guidelines in the fastest and most efficient way,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe.
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