COVID-19 airside safety and operations guidance published by ACI World

ACI World has published an advisory bulletin offering guidance for airports on best practices for adapting operations and dealing with grounded aircraft.

Airside operations require support

Airports Council International (ACI) World has issued guidance for airports – titled ‘Airside Safety and Operations under COVID-19’ – on best practices in order to help them to adapt their airfield operations in response to the effects and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on a survey conducted with the members of the ACI World Safety and Technical Standing Committee, roughly half of the respondents had experienced a 90 per cent or greater reduction in aircraft movements, and 64 per cent had experienced a 70 per cent or greater reduction.

Even with enormous global restrictions on travel, most airports surveyed had not restricted their hours of operation due to COVID-19. However, three quarters of respondents indicated that they have closed some of their airside infrastructure in order to adapt operations to best limit the impact of the virus. In addition, most have had to implement special arrangements to park large numbers of grounded aircraft.

ACI World’s new advisory bulletin provides guidance on accommodating parked aircraft, as well as the maintenance of airside infrastructure (runways, taxiways, aprons, stands, piers), the management of airside operations teams and continuing essential cargo operations.

Angela Gittens, ACI World Director General, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented disruption of global air transport and has imposed operational challenges to airside infrastructure. Despite the dramatic decline in passenger traffic, many airports remain open for cargo operations and the continuity of the air cargo business is essential for communities, the global economy at large and for fighting the ongoing pandemic.”

Gittens continued: “The health and welfare of travellers, staff and the public, and limiting the spread of communicable diseases, are the priorities for the aviation industry, and ‘business as usual’ no longer applies. It is imperative for airports to implement necessary measures to ensure best safety practices for airfield operations and this guidance will assist them in this work.”

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