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ACI-NA publishes 42 aviation industry COVID-19 recommendations

In order to support the industry as air travel begins to recover, ACI-NA has released 42 recommendations and priorities for aviation during COVID-19.

Grants given to U.S. airports

Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) has released an introductory report highlighting 42 immediate industry recommendations and priorities to assist with the restart and recovery of air travel in the U.S. and Canada following the COVID-19 pandemic

As the report recommends, the restart and recovery of the aviation sector will require a consistent and harmonised approach, with clear industry standards and good practices. 

Chair of ACI-NA and Executive Director of the Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority, Lew Bleiweis, said: “Ensuring the health, safety and security of the travelling public and airport workers is always an airport’s top priority. The recommendations and priorities outlined by the Airport Industry Recovery Advisory Panel provide concrete, consistent and actionable steps that will allow our industry to come back online efficiently and address ongoing needs to promote health and safety in air travel.”

ACI-NA established the Airport Industry Recovery Advisory Panel in April 2020 to provide direction as the industry prepares to navigate air travel’s restart and recovery following the COVID-19 health pandemic. The advisory panel is comprised of representatives from all facets of airport management and is co-chaired by Jon Ballesteros, Chief External Affairs Officer for the San Francisco Airport Commission, and Roy Fuhrmann, Chief Operating Officer for the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which operates Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP).

Joyce Carter, Chair of ACI-NA’s Canadian Policy Council and President and CEO of Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA), said: “North American airports responded swiftly to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 with enhanced cleaning and sanitisation protocols, investments in health infrastructure and implementation of important mitigation strategies. As air travel begins to resume after a near shutdown for the last three months, it is essential that the industry move forward in a coordinated way. The recommendations and priorities put forward by the advisory panel are an invaluable resource to Canada’s airports as we work together to ensure that travellers have confidence in our system.” 

The advisory panel has identified 42 priorities and recommendations for immediate implementation to recover the previous level of service and adapt to the public health expectations of passengers and employees. Priorities and recommendations include several legislative and regulatory initiatives and good practices that can be deployed by airports. The report’s findings are consistent with the recommendations put forward by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council on Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART).

Chair of ACI-NA’s U.S. Policy Council and CEO of Huntsville International Airport (HSV), Rick Tucker, said: “Our industry’s ongoing experience with COVID-19 will lead to many important considerations as the industry enters recovery and plans for the future. Airports will need to make strategic investments in technology and infrastructure to ensure health and safety. The need for ongoing collaboration and coordination with our government, airline, concessionaire, retail and other important partners will be essential to our collective success.” 

Top priorities and recommendations outlined in the report include: Increased financial relief for airports in the U.S. and Canada; maintaining appropriate staffing levels at security and customs checkpoints; making investments in contactless technology to reduce passenger touchpoints; implementing enhanced cleaning and sanitisation protocols; streamlining the passenger experience in the terminal; and ensuring consistency in health standards from airport to airport. 

Kevin M. Burke, President and CEO of ACI-NA, said: “As the advisory panel continues its work into the coming months, this report will be a living document to help guide airports as they address this rapidly evolving situation. ACI-NA remains committed to assisting the advisory panel as they engage aviation stakeholders in discussions about passenger expectations throughout a passenger’s journey.”

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