Published on : Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Today’s announcement by the Spanish Government, following the UK’s recent announcement, to impose a 14-day quarantine period for incoming travellers, will not aid the recovery process of aviation or help kick start Europe’s economy. It will have a detrimental effect and lengthen the time it will take for the travel and tourism industry to resume operations and services to consumers.
It is vital that the measures introduced by member states, stakeholders and the air transport industry are financially, operationally and logistically viable, as well as being practical in their execution. Consumer confidence is vital to allow airlines to restart their operations and to receive future passenger bookings. Imposing complicated quarantine measures, which are unlikely to be controlled or enforced, provide no strategic benefit.
Appropriate measures, based on scientific evidence, are required to allow airlines to start flying again and passengers to start travelling. Evidence has suggested that the risk of virus transmission on board an aircraft is low.
ERA Director General Montserrat Barriga says: “A clear set of measures across the EU and third countries is needed urgently to allow aviation to recover. A strategic set of processes and protocols can be implemented to make this happen that would re-establish confidence in flying. Quarantine measures will enforce a stalemate situation that benefits neither the passenger nor the airline. Collaboration is needed by all involved, otherwise the pathway to reconnect and reunite Europe will remain long, lengthy and economically devastating.”
Jonathan Hinkles, Managing Director of ERA member airline Loganair, adds: “Public health is of paramount importance. That said, there appears to be no logic in restricting international travel from areas where COVID-19 infection rates are low, yet that is exactly what is now being proposed. These measures will do tremendous further damage to the regional aviation industry for no obvious benefit to public health, as well as holding back the recovery of essential industries unless they are exempted from these quarantine measures.”
Roger Hage, General Manager (Commercial & Operations) of ERA member airline Eastern Airways, comments: “Given the propensity for these measures to restrict major corporate customers who shuttle staff or deliver projects, including sectors such as maritime, construction and energy (major parts of our charter customer flying commitments) this could severely impact economic recovery across many countries; which, as a UK-based operator, we believe is notable for the island’s economy. We would advocate for a very clear rethink as to how to distinguish between discretionary and employment specific passenger movements.”
ERA has recommended a set of comprehensive measures aimed at providing consumer confidence and protection for both the passenger and industry work forces.