ERA calls for harmonised approach and common framework to safely reconnect and reunite Europe by air travel

Published on : Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Across Europe, member states have begun to plan for recovery following the disastrous effects of COVID-19. Aviation will be a key player in reviving Europe’s economic activity, but for the industry to resume whilst still controlling the spread of the virus, a fundamental reciprocal acceptance of measures across the EU and third countries is needed.

Evidence has suggested that the risk of virus transmission on board an aircraft is low, with modern aircraft utilising High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters – the same as those used in hospital operating theatres. Nonetheless, to fly again we must reinstate consumer confidence.

ERA supports the action of enhanced cleaning and disinfecting practices, as well as the use of face masks and coverings by passengers, flight and cabin crew, and all operational ground crew for the entire travel experience. Equally, temperature checks and contact tracing protocols and measures would establish coherent and consistent expectations for passengers; supported by additional border, security and biosecurity lanes at airports to process passengers in a safe and timely fashion.

All measures must be scientifically proven, as well as financially, operationally and logistically viable. Additionally, they must provide confidence that the passengers of origin are free of COVID-19 in order to remove the need for the long, arduous quarantines currently implemented across Europe, the UK and US.

ERA Director General Montserrat Barriga says: “Health remains the top priority, however it cannot be ignored that travel restrictions have caused significant disruptions to supply chains, commerce, trade and most importantly to peoples’ livelihoods due to the severe economic impact. By successfully implementing a common framework at European level, we can ensure a safe and trusted environment whilst also preserving the European aviation industry and the vital connections it provides.”

ERA has recommended a set of comprehensive measures aimed at providing consumer confidence and protection for both the passenger and industry work forces.

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