Virtual assembly pledges real commitment to support COVID-19 recovery

David Whitely by David Whitely | Nov 17, 2020

Aviation is major catalyst in supporting growth in other industries and is essential to the social and economic welfare across the world.

Before COVID-19, aviation and the tourism industry it supports, provided 87.7 million jobs across the globe. More than 11 million of these jobs are within the aviation sector itself, employed at airlines, airports, civil aerospace manufacturers, and air traffic management. Around 60% of those employed in aviation are employed at airports.

The pandemic has had a devastating economic and social impact on aviation and airports, however. Aviation-supported jobs could fall by 46 million to 41.7 million – or by more than half – compared with pre-COVID situation.

As it stands, the recovery of the aviation industry will be a key driver of the global economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19 but airports around the globe are running out of cash.

Support measures must be provided directly to airports to guarantee the continuity of essential operations, protect millions of jobs, and preserve precious air connectivity.

ACI World has pledged to support the industry in its recovery efforts with advocacy, guidance and solutions to help airports first navigate the crisis and then to build a sustainable recovery.

The industry is coming together like never before in this effort – airports, airlines, manufacturers, and all partners in the aviation ecosystem have recognized that no one part of the industry can go at it alone. Recovery depends on us all.

ACI, its World Governing Board, and Annual Assembly, are determined to support industry recovery.

ACI World members come together to pledge support for recovery

Every year, the ACI World Annual General Assembly of members convenes to discuss the pressing issues facing the industry,

This year’s ACI World Annual General Assembly was held virtually for the first time and agreed a resolution pledging support for the industry in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

It urged airports to implement best practices and facilitate health measures that are in accordance with global and regional guidance. Consistent measures implemented across the industry will provide the clearest path to a stable restart.

International, national, and regional health authorities are working with bodies like ICAO and ACI to develop consistent and effective protocols for prospective travellers. Measures need to be simple, practical, and based on medical evidence and based on a risk-based approach to travel restrictions and new process requirements.

To assist in the process of developing measures that are consistent with global standards, ACI has provided direct support to airports through its Airport Health Accreditation programme. The programme is supported by ICAO as it is based on ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force guidance.

A global effort needs global coordination

This is a global effort.

As one united industry, we must coordinate and collaborate with regulators on the development of health and hygiene measures and new passenger processes to facilitate the return of operations.

ACI World encourages governments and regulators to recognize the Airport Health Accreditation programme and to enter into bilateral arrangements as an integral part of a risk-based layered approach – including a coordinated approach to testing – to alleviate quarantine restrictions and travel bans.

This will help build consumer confidence, minimize the impact on customer experience, and ensure efficient operations.

ACI’s work to support recovery continues

As an industry, we are stronger together and ACI will continue to take a leadership with global organizations, governments and regulators to simplify the path for recovery for airports and the wider aviation ecosystem.

For our part, we will continue to provide the data to help airports adapt to passengers’ expectations, and to assist in the communication of changes and requirements to manage the expectations of passengers.

Through the Airport Health Accreditation programme, adapting our Airport Service Quality programme to ensure the voice of the passenger is heard, to the development of tools such as the Check and Fly app to support the sharing of information regarding the measures in place at airports, ACI World will continue to underpin the efforts of airports as they provide the basis for global recovery.

David Whitely

David Whitely

Senior Director, FTI Consulting
David Whitely is a ACI World Business Partner with more than 25 years’ experience in journalism, corporate, media, and public relations in the UK, Canada and Australia. He has held in roles with HSBC, and with the governments of the UK and Western Australia. In aviation, David has served in the senior leadership teams of London Gatwick Airport and ACI World. He is currently a Senior Director with FTI Consulting based in the Asia-Pacific region and supports clients on strategic communications matters including ESG, crisis and reputation management, and change communication.
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