The coronavirus pandemic is not only diminishing global mobility but also presenting risks to air traffic control and safety oversight systems, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) says.
In a statement issued Tuesday, ICAO urged national governments to identify the best methods of supporting the aviation industry for the duration of the pandemic and said that governments should improve coordination with aircraft operators on current air services as well as flight restrictions resulting from the spread of COVID-19 ─ the disease caused by the virus.
“As COVID-19 continues to impede and diminish global mobility in all world regions, we’re also seeing very serious risks emerging to the operational viability of air traffic control systems and safety oversight systems, vital industry segments such as ground services, repair and maintenance facilities and other key system providers,” ICAO Secretary General Fang Liu said.
ICAO said it had told governments in its most recent state letter that some countries had issued flight crew notifications that lacked sufficient detail on flight restrictions, airport closures and reductions in air traffic services.
“The letter called on governments to review air traffic services priorities to ensure basic humanitarian, emergency and other COVID-19−related global response capabilities and to have basic contingency arrangements in place, especially with respect to the sustainability of the global air cargo supply chain and efficient worldwide availability of medical and hygienic supplies,” ICAO said.
According to World Health Organization data, as of Wednesday, there were 413,467 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 197 countries, areas and territories around the world and 18,433 confirmed deaths.