WASHINGTON – Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), the trade association representing commercial service airports in the United States and Canada, today welcomed updated guidance put forward by the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Council Aviation Recovery Task Force as the industry continues to work toward the safe and healthy reopening of air travel following the coronavirus (COVID-19) health pandemic.
“North American airports continue their proactive efforts to ensure the health, safety, and security of the traveling public and airport workers as we continue to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “The updated guidance issued by ICAO today provides an important step forward in a global approach toward establishing standards and practices based on sound science. We thank the Federal Aviation Administration and Transport Canada for their continued work with ICAO and industry stakeholders to further increase international collaboration and harmonization in establishing a risk-based, multilayered approach to rebuild the public’s confidence in air travel.”
Earlier this year, ACI-NA convened an Airport Industry Recovery Advisory Panel to assess the ongoing operational needs of airports in the United States and Canada, as well as considerations to ensure passenger safety, limit further spread of COVID-19, and restore the public’s confidence in air travel. In June, the panel released 52 immediate, medium, and long term priorities and focus areas to assist with the restart and recovery of air travel in the United States and Canada following the coronavirus (COVID-19) health pandemic. As the report also recommends, the restart and recovery of the aviation sector will require a consistent and harmonized approach with clear industry standards and good practices.
North American airports responded quickly to COVID-19 by establishing enhanced health and sanitation protocols that include much more frequent cleaning, with an intense focus on reducing “touch points” in public areas and restrooms; improving ventilation and air filtration systems; increasing availability of hand sanitizers in many airport areas for passengers and employees; raising awareness about the need to ensure physical distancing; encouraging or requiring use of cloth facial coverings; and additional education and training for airport employees and contractors. Many of the practices will remain in place for the foreseeable future.