After a year of pandemic-induced change, the aviation industry has begun anticipating that the proliferation of COVID-19 vaccinations may be laying the groundwork for recovery.
However, recovery depends not only on vaccinating the public but also on a variety of other factors, including the overall state of the economy.
Challenges facing the aviation industry are unprecedented, and uncertainties remain about the likely pace of the recovery, Heather Krause, a director of the U.S. Government Accountability Office physical infrastructure team, says.
To cope with those uncertainties, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and a number of aviation organizations have offered guidelines for resuming air travel in ways that guard people against unnecessary health risks and are intended to help flying in the post-pandemic era to be as safe and secure as it was before.
The ICAO Council’s Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART), for example, has published “Take-Off Guidelines,” which include recommendations on COVID-19 testing, use of masks and public hygiene as well as measures related to maintaining aviation safety as air travel increases.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is developing a Travel Pass app to enable passengers to digitally manage COVID-19 vaccination and other documents. IATA and others are encouraging the continuation of measures in place to fight transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19, including disinfection of airplane cabins, the use of hospital-grade HEPA air filters and the wearing of masks.
Other recommendations from a number of organizations caution that flight schedules should only gradually become busier, as pilots, air traffic controllers, airport staffs and others receive appropriate retraining before they return to their jobs.
Looking to the future, Industry leaders also are calling for efforts to improve the global aviation network’s ability to respond to pandemics in years to come.
More detailed information can be found on the AeroSafety World page of the Foundation’s website in an article available to Foundation members and non-members alike.