Published on : Friday, March 27, 2020
The United Nations aviation body, International Civil of Aviation Organisation (ICAO) recently welcomed a statement from G20 countries to aid in the global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The statement highlights that aviation is one of the worst-hit industries among the sectors harshly impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
On March 26th, G20 leaders attended a special video conference meeting hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In the same meeting, The G20 pledged that it will do everything in power to overcome the global crisis caused by the pandemic. It also said that it will continue to conduct bold and large-scale fiscal support to help those sectors in need.
Salvatore Sciacchitano, President, ICAO said in a recent press statement that he is encouraged by the G20 statements that those sectors affected the most would be prioritised. He mentioned that it is evident that international air transport is suffering very acutely as personal and global mobility continues to be curtailed. However, he is assured that relief might soon arrive in light of the airline industry’s instrumental role in worldwide response in times of crisis.
Airlines around the world have called for government support as the spread of coronavirus caused immense border restrictions, travel bans and hence a much-reduced travel demand. This has forced numerous airlines across the globe to ground much of their fleets.
Singapore recently announced a second stimulus package on March 26th to boost its airlines. The country’s deputy prime minister highlighted that it is important to support both Singapore Airlines and Changi airport to help with the recovery from the pandemic.
Fang Liu, Secretary-General, ICAO further added in a press statement that aviation connectivity is critical to successful global recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. She mentioned that most importantly the airline industry needs to be functional with respect to ensuring the flow of vital medical supplies, critical agricultural products, and other goods and services across borders. She also said operations and recovery are also essential to resolve disruptions to global supply chains.
On Thursday, The European Parliament also approved a plan to suspend rules that require airlines to continue operating 80% of flights at certain EU airports in order to maintain slots. Airlines had called for the waiver, which will apply for the whole summer season from March 29th 2020 until October 24th 2020. The waiver has been requested in order to cope with the sharp drop in demand for flights. According to the European Parliament, this move will stop air carriers from operating empty flights during the pandemic.
The European Council has already approved the plan and it will come into effect once the Official Journal of the European Union publishes the same in days to come.
Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director, Airlines for Europe, said in a statement that they appreciate the EU Member States and the European Parliament for their swift action. He added that it will help European aviation to better cope with this unprecedented crisis alongside avoiding unnecessary CO2 emissions.