Plans to kick start the recovery of the global aviation industry have been welcomed by industry trade associations, with a call for travellers not to require vaccination.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council’s has approved the latest recommendations from its Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART), which has been charged with drawing up a roadmap for the industry to speed its recovery as global COVID vaccinations begin to take effect.
CART has published its recommendations for the temporary liberalization of cargo flights, the need for priority vaccination of air crew, and increased cooperation among governments to implement its recommendations.
However when it came to vaccinations CART recommended prioritizing access to vaccination for aircrews. The CART recommendation follows the guidance provided by the World Health Organisation with a framework on what states should take into consideration when deciding vaccination priority groups.
“Crew vaccination will help enable sufficient ‘ready-to-fly’ aircrew to maintain critical supply chains, especially related to the transportation of vaccines and other medical supplies,” it explained.
More controversially on the vaccination of travellers CART has recommended that travellers should not be vaccinated for international travel.
“This is a major piece of work by states and aviation stakeholders under the leadership of ICAO and with the full support of the industry, said International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac. Of course, these recommendations, guidelines and tools are only meaningful if they are adopted universally. “It is crucial that states implement this guidance, particularly as they plan for the restart of international aviation when borders are able to open. As we have said many times, it was easy to shut down aviation with individual decisions. Restarting and maintaining operations to deliver economically and socially vital connectivity can only happen if all parties work together. The CART recommendations are the building blocks for that cooperation.”
The requirements for globally accepted COVID-19 test certificates including the technology framework for securely creating digital versions and the future incorporation of vaccination certificates were agreed. These recommendations are now included in the ICAO Manual on Testing and Cross-Border Risk Management Measures.
“One of the most important recommendations from this work is the call for national authorities to ensure that CART delivers results in national decision-making. We all know how important aviation is to the economy. And the harmonized implementation of these guidelines is what will put people back in jobs by getting the industry moving again. As ICAO tracks implementation, it is also critical to track the impact of latest developments in COVID-19 on risk management frameworks, especially as we learn more about the effectiveness of vaccines against transmission,” added Mr de Juniac.
IATA added from the perspective of preparing for an industry restart, “this is one of the most significant outputs of CART”. A recent IATA poll found that 89% of respondents believe that governments must standardise vaccination and testing certificates.
“It will be a critical element for maximizing the benefit of the IATA Travel Pass and other technologies being developed to manage digital travel credentials,” it added.