ACI EUROPE calls upon Transport Ministers for EU coordination and alignment
In regard to COVID-19 recovery, President of ACI EUROPE, Jost Lammers, exclaimed: “Our sector cannot afford to exit this crisis the way we entered it.”
With European States working on the progressive lifting of confinement measures, ACI EUROPE has called for full EU coordination and alignment on how current restrictions to air travel should be lifted.
Jost Lammers, President of ACI EUROPE, said: “Air connectivity has essentially collapsed and with it not just tourism, but scores of other businesses relying on the physical flow of people and goods. Protecting livelihoods now requires planning for how we can reconnect our communities, and that must be fully and effectively coordinated at EU level.”
Airports stand ready to assist and cooperate with health and aviation authorities to restart operations in the safest way for passengers and staff. Lammers urged for airports to be effectively consulted ahead of new measures being designed and adopted, and highlighted a series of key principles.
“Air connectivity will be restored gradually, based on the convergence of the epidemiological situations between different countries and regions. But there must be alignment as to how such convergence will be assessed and the related implications on travel. There must also be coherence when it comes to the operational measures that both airports and airlines will need to comply with. This is going to be essential if we want these measures to be not only effective – but also to secure public confidence. This means that these measures must be the same or at the very least equivalent not just for the whole air transport network, but also between transport modes and across other tourism industries,” continued Lammers.
COVID-19 related operational measures at airports will also need to be risk-based, implementable, flexible, cost effective and temporary. They should be publicly financed since protecting health falls within the public remit. Against that background, there is no doubt that full and effective coordination at EU level and with industry will be the single most crucial factor in the restoration of air connectivity.
- Called for a new framework to allow EU states to establish short-term ‘air connectivity restoration schemes’ to provide airlines with operating aid to restart routes considered strategic for the economic recovery
- Pointed once more to the issue of slot allocation as one where improvements could still be made. Airlines should be required to notify airports – at both ends of a route – of flight cancellations and return slots to the coordinators with a minimum of four weeks’ notice. This will allow airports to match their operations to actual traffic levels and also to attract other carriers to restore connectivity during the recovery phase.