Istanbul Airport becomes newest addition to EASA COVID-19 monitoring programme
Around 40 airport operators and airlines are currently involved in the EASA and ECDC COVID-19 guidelines monitoring programme, with Istanbul Airport being among the most recent additions.
Istanbul Airport (IST) is among the latest aviation companies to sign up and commit to implementing the guidelines for safe travel in light of COVID-19 that were created by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC); joining a growing network of airport operators and airlines putting measures in place to offer a harmonised safe travel experience across Europe and beyond. Currently, around 40 airport operators and airlines have already signed the charter.
In signing the EASA charter for the return to normal operations under COVID-19, airports and airlines pledge to work with their national authorities to take the steps required to support health safety – and to report back on their experiences to help other organisations with their real-life implementations.
These measures for aviation are outlined in guidelines developed by EASA and ECDC on request of the European Commission (EC). The COVID-19 Aviation Safety Protocol is based on current scientific information about the spread of COVID-19 and the expert opinion of the two agencies.
Executive Director of EASA, Patrick Ky, said: “The aim of the guidelines and the charter is to establish a harmonised basis for healthy and safe travel. The growing number of airlines and airports signing up to the programme can enhance passengers’ confidence that this will be achieved. Major industry stakeholders connecting Europe with global communities and providing services to millions of passengers worldwide are now part of the programme and will be giving us feedback on their practical implementations, so that the processes can be fine-tuned and further improved upon in coming months.”
Primary recommendations of the guidelines are to observe physical distancing wherever possible, to wear a medical face mask throughout the journey and to practise scrupulous and frequent hand hygiene.
Passengers themselves are expected to take personal responsibility. For example, passengers who have COVID-19-compatible symptoms (fever, cough, sudden loss of smell, shortness of breath) or who are aware that they have come in contact with a COVID-19 case should not travel to the airport.
Kadri Samsunlu, Chief Executive Officer of Istanbul Airport, said: “Our primary objective subsequent to the outbreak of COVID-19 has been to provide ‘safe travel at maximum hygiene conditions’ at Istanbul Airport. We took all necessary measures at our airport at a maximum before we resumed flights. Yet, it is fact that the aviation industry can overcome the crisis caused by COVID-19 only if we all act in unison. Turkey is ready to do so.”