Airports Council International (ACI) World Governing Board has called for urgent relief measures for airports to assist in dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and also urged a globally coordinated programme of measures to aid in a balanced recovery for the aviation industry.
The resolution passed by the board calls for coordinated industry engagement between States, regulatory authorities, and all aviation stakeholders, to promote an internationally recognized framework for a sound, seamless and sustainable recovery.
The COVID-19 outbreak is a systemic crisis that has resulted in unprecedented disruption of global air transport. ACI World estimates a reduction of more than 4.6 billion passengers with a decline in total airport revenues on a global scale of more than $97 billion for 2020.
In order to alleviate this unprecedented impact, ACI World has urged policy relief measures on the protection of airport charges and revenues, tax relief, concession fee waivers, the temporary suspension of slot usage requirements, measures to ensure the continuity of air cargo operations, and comprehensive financial relief including cash injections to protect essential operations and millions of jobs.
“Airports are important engines of economic growth, wealth creation and employment and the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on the industry and broader economy has halted the airport industry at global level,” ACI World Director General Angela Gittens said. “Airports need urgent relief to help assist them to weather the far-reaching economic ramifications of the crisis and help lay the foundation of a balanced recovery.”
The resolution also advocates for recovery measures with a focus on ensuring that the approach on health restrictions and mutual recognition from regulators is coordinated, proportionate, and practical. ACI World calls for the following recovery measures:
- Industry engagement with international, national, and regional health authorities to develop consistent and effective protocols for travelers, ensuring that any new measures are practical and based on medical evidence
- Risk-based approaches that take a risk-based approach to travel restrictions and new process requirements
- Recovery best-practices which incorporate short and long-term requirements for health and hygiene, and amended passenger processes to facilitate the return to normal operation
- Protecting airport staff by ensuring that they are part of the solution, are adequately protected, and can support a return to normal business
- Effective communication with stakeholders and travelers through all channels to manage the expectations of passengers, build consumer confidence, minimize the impact on customer experience., and ensure efficient operation
- Flexible approach that takes an incremental and flexible approach to requirements with regular reviews of initial measures in response to changing circumstances
- Evaluating consumer confidence by ensuring that measures implemented at airports are based on changing passenger profiles and expectations with regular monitoring and benchmarking
- Focus on sustainability which recognizes the continued importance of climate action to support sustainable airport development for the longer term
- Stakeholder engagement to ensure ICAO recognizes its pivotal role to coordinate the recovery/ re-start protocols among States.
“Recognizing that the entire aviation ecosystem has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, a coordinated programme recovery is essential to ensure the survival of the airport industry as well as the aviation industry as a whole,” Angela Gittens said. “The relief and recovery measures that have been put forward will ensure that the necessary assistance benefits all parts of the aviation ecosystem so that a balanced, global recovery can be created.”