The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) has called for standardised health measures to facilitate air travel. Measures must be consistent, pragmatic and risk-managed, AAPA said.
“Aviation supports 65.5 million jobs around the world, with one job in the industry supporting 24 other jobs in the wider economy, but these livelihoods are now jeopardised due to the drastic plunge in travel demand,” AAPA commented. “The United Nations World Tourism Organisation sees tourism declining as much as -80 per cent this year. The progressive resumption of air travel would be key to helping jumpstart economic activity.
“AAPA recognises that public health measures such as widespread testing, contact tracing and social distancing are now progressively being implemented by governments across the world. Similar measures are also being discussed as conditions to the resumption of air travel, but such measures need to be consistent, coherent and coordinated amongst governments working closely together with airlines, airports and health authorities, in line with the relevant World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.
“To address public confidence concerns over the safety of air travel, any measures should be practical and based on accepted medical standards, as part of a robust risk management framework.”
AAPA Director General Subhas Menon said, “Wherever possible, processes such as travellers’ health declarations should be automated and made available on mobile devices for the convenience of the travelling public. Departure screening procedures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 should preferably be applied before travellers board their flights. Precautionary measures onboard are being discussed, and will likely include the compulsory wearing of masks by all travellers and airline crew. Other measures such as leaving the middle seat empty have been suggested, but would make air travel much more costly without any meaningful public benefit in terms of risk reduction.”
He added, “The COVID-19 pandemic is probably the greatest challenge that the global air transport industry has ever faced. The industry must introduce and adapt processes to minimise risk while at the same time restoring confidence and trust in air travel. Travelers should be able to undertake journeys with full confidence that measures are being undertaken to protect their wellbeing.”
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