The Assembly of Presidents of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) together with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airports Council International (ACI) Asia-Pacific, issued a joint declaration today highlighting their commitment to ensure the continued safety of aviation as well as revive air travel and secure its future.
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic that has severely affected air travel and tourism this year, the declaration expresses firm support for ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) guidance which is the basis of the aviation industry’s risk mitigation measures aimed at safeguarding the safety and well-being of air travellers.
The industry is committed to ensuring that air travel is safe and expresses its firm resolve to partner with governments to harmonise cross-border measures that will ensure safe, smooth and sustainable air transport, as well as quicken the pace of the restart of travel and tourism.
As a critical risk mitigation measure, the industry supports the establishment of globally accepted and mutually recognised COVID-19 testing protocols.
Conscious that emergency measures are required to contain the pandemic, the industry requests that travel restrictions are harmonised and coordinated among countries so that they are targeted, balanced, transparent and flexible in duration.
In addition to the joint declaration, the AAPA Assembly of Presidents issued a number of resolutions addressing various industry priorities.
The Assembly views the setting up of a robust international testing framework, based on mutually-recognised accredited facilities delivering rapid, accurate, affordable and scalable testing prior to departure, coupled with other risk mitigation measures recommended by ICAO, as an effective approach to safely restart international air travel. Blanket quarantine measures are a significant deterrent to air travel and should be reviewed in the context of these and other risk mitigation measures.
Reaffirming the industry’s commitment to environmental sustainability, the Assembly of Presidents also renewed their call on governments to respect the integrity of ICAO CORSIA and refrain from applying duplicative requirements on international aviation CO2 emissions, as well as to support the use of sustainable aviation fuel, so that the industry can reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.
Noting that a broad framework conducive to the early restart and recovery of aviation is urgently needed, AAPA called on governments to refrain from increasing the burden of aviation levies in any form and to support Asia Pacific airlines as they face unprecedented financial and operational challenges due to the prolonged grounding of international aviation.
Mr. Subhas Menon, Director General of AAPA said: ‘’The ICAO CART guidelines established earlier this year provide practical guidance to governments and industry to restart aviation and recover from COVID-19 in a coordinated manner, while keeping the safety, health and wellbeing of the travelling public as a top priority. Inconsistent and patchy measures create unpredictability and confusion for both travellers and airlines, while hampering the meaningful restart of cross border air transport.’’
Mr. Menon concluded, ‘’The prolonged closure of borders has had deep and lasting effects on the public and the wider economy. It has now become critical to improve collaboration and cooperation across borders so as to mitigate further damage and jump start recovery efforts. Asia Pacific airlines are firmly committed to working with governments and other stakeholders to rebuild passenger confidence and pave the way for the meaningful recovery of travel and tourism as essential services supporting commerce and livelihoods within the region and across the world.’’