ACI EUROPE has signalled a safe return to air travel, as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published their anticipated Aviation Health Safety Protocol.
Welcoming the new guidance addressed to European States, Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI EUROPE, highlighted the imperative of ensuring the safest and healthiest passenger experience possible as a number of States are looking at lifting restrictions to travel – so that air connectivity can be gradually restored.
“Safety and security have always been uncompromising priorities for aviation, and both are firmly ingrained into every airport’s operations and corporate culture. Building on this track record, the Aviation Health Safety Protocol designed jointly by EASA and ECDC is fully aligned with our industry’s focus on passenger and staff wellbeing. Crucially, it has the four vital ingredients needed to contain and limit COVID-19 transmission risks during air travel. It is risk-based, effective, proportionate and practical. With this Protocol, passengers can return to air travel with confidence.”
He added: “The ball is now back at national level. We urge European States to fully adhere to what EASA and the ECDC are recommending. This is the European standard they need to follow, and they should not depart from it – so we can ensure truly uniform and coherent measures across our continent. Doing otherwise would only risk working against passenger confidence and further delay the restoration of air connectivity, and with it the recovery of travel and tourism across our continent.”
Most airports have already anticipated many of the measures outlined by EASA and ECDC, and all are looking forward to continuing to work closely with their health and aviation authorities.
ACI EUROPE also stressed the importance of responsible and abiding behaviour from passengers – especially as regards the wearing of face masks, hand hygiene and limiting direct physical contact with other travellers and staff. Jankovec commented: “Everyone needs to embrace what is essentially a new etiquette for air travel – just as we have been doing in our daily routine for weeks. This means effective communications will be as important as the measures themselves, and this is something ACI EUROPE has already started working on with its membership in cooperation with EASA.”
To further support its 500+ airport membership, ACI EUROPE will shortly publish industry “Guidelines for a Healthy Passenger Experience”, which will further build upon the EASA and ECDC protocol and provide detailed implementation strategies as air services resume.