in Air Transport

IATA: A more balanced public policy approach is needed during Covid-19

Posted 13 January 2021 · Add Comment

IATA’s Alexander de Juniac has delivered his first briefing of 2021 regarding Covid-19 saying safety is aviation’s number one priority and ‘our’ greatest success. However, governments are not interested in managing a balanced approach to the risks of COVID-19.

 

"We are working tirelessly with governments to keep flying safe and reduce the risk of COVID-1," said IATA’s director general Alexander de Juniac.  Image:  IATA

Commenting on the recent tragic Sriwijaya Air crash over the weekend de Juniac said: “I would like to extend the sympathies of the industry to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in the air crash.  Accidents are rare, but when they do happen, it is a reminder that we must never take safety for granted. Our reputation for safety is something that we earn each day and with each flight. And, on the very rare occasions when things do go wrong, we investigate, and we improve.”

 

He added: “Airlines bring this same serious approach to safety to everything that we do—including COVID-19. And that is one of the reasons why the slow pace of progress in the crisis is so frustrating. We are working tirelessly with governments to keep flying safe and reduce the risk of COVID-19 importation via travel with the implementation of the ICAO CART recommendations proposals to replace quarantine with COVID-19 testing. But, as Brian pointed out, the industry’s situation is still perilous. In fact, it got worse over the year-end holiday period.

 

“While we still see airlines turning cash positive within the year, the near-term picture is bleak. Instead of a boost from the year-end holiday period, we got even more restrictions. Governments tightened borders in a knee-jerk response to a virus mutation. Canada, UK, Germany, Japan and others added testing to their COVID-19 measures without removing quarantine requirements. In other words, they have chosen policy measures that will shut down travel.

 

“This approach tells us that these governments are not interested in managing a balanced approach to the risks of COVID-19.  They appear to be aiming for a zero-COVID world. This is an impossible task that comes with severe consequences—the full extent of which it would be impossible to calculate. But, with this approach, we know for sure that:

 

    The travel and tourism economy will not recover.

    Jobs will continue to disappear.

    And the lockdown’s toll on people’s mental health will continue to grow—particularly on those who are separated from loved ones.

 

“A more balanced public policy approach is needed—one that is based on testing as a replacement for quarantines so that we can begin addressing the severe side-effects of COVID-19 policies.

 

“Science tells us that travelers will not be a significant factor in community transmission if testing is used effectively. But most governments have tunnel-vision on quarantine and are not at all focused on finding ways to safely re-open borders—or alleviate the self-imposed economic and mental health hardships of the lockdowns.

 

“There was some good news over the holidays. We continued to prepare for the day that governments are ready to open borders—with testing or with vaccinations. The first pilot of the IATA Travel Pass app was launched in partnership with Singapore Airlines on routes to Kuala Lumpur and to Jakarta. We are still on track for a full rollout of the app during the first quarter of this year.

 

I” will conclude by repeating a quote from the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres. He emphasised the urgent need to re-start flying by saying that:

 

“Aviation is an important engine of our world and will play a critical role in lifting the world to recovery from COVID-19. Let us ensure it receives the support it needs to keep the world’s nations connected and united.

 

“The support starts with consistent, well-reasoned, scientifically supported policies to manage the risks of COVID-19 and travel. That is the antithesis of what we witnessed over the holiday period. Our top priority for 2021 is to change that!”

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Rolls-Royce to develop aviation energy storage technology

Rolls-Royce is entering new aviation markets to pioneer sustainable power and as part of that mission we will be developing energy storage systems (ESS) that will enable aircraft to undertake zero emissions flights of over 100 miles on a

Swissport announces new regional manager for Middle East and Africa

As part of a new commercial structure, Swissport has redesigned its market setup and appointed new regional managers across Europe, the Middle East & Africa.

Havelsan partakes in Shield Africa event

Turkey’s Havelsan participated in the Shield Africa event, which was held on 8-11 June in the Ivory Coast to showcase its Land, Naval and Air solutions for the defence and security of the African continent.

Paramount Group Technical Aviation Academy opens in Pretoria

Paramount Aerospace Systems, subsidiary to aerospace and technology company Paramount Group, has announced that its Technical Aviation Academy has strategically re-located to Wonderboom National Airport, adjacent to the

NAS awarded Airport Lounge Tender for New Terminal in Zambia

National Aviation Services and NAC2000 Corporation have been awarded a tender to operate an airport lounge in the new terminal at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) in Lusaka, Zambia.

Bullish airlines buck the global trend

Two start-up airlines are taking to the skies and several incumbents – including Air Peace, Azman Air and Dana Air – are growing their fleets.

WDS SK2601090322
See us at
Aviation MENA 2022DAS21_BTAviation Africa 2021 BTOCWDS BT1202090322