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IATA and Airports Council Want Governments to Pay for COVID-19 Measures

IATA and Airports Council Want Governments to Pay for COVID-19 Measures
Joe Cortez

The International Air Transport Association and the Airports Council International is calling on governments to pay the bill for public health initiatives related to COVID-19, including flyer screening and sanitation. Noting their own data and statements from the WHO, the two groups are again asking for international support in restarting the aviation sector.

Two prominent international aviation groups are asking the government to pick up the bill for public health initiatives at airports, including flyer screening and sanitization. In a press release, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airports Council International (ACI) asked international governments to come to the aviation sector’s aid to keep flyers safe and restart the aviation community.

Health Checks, Sanitization and Social Distancing Are Responsibility of “National Authorities”

In their argument, both groups say that the role of managing flyer health checks, airport sanitization and social distancing measures are the responsibility of governments, not airport authorities or airlines. TO those means, the groups are claim “costs related to public health measures aimed at mitigating the spread of communicable diseases should be borne by governments.”

Their logic is based in part on guidance from the World Health Organization, which places the financial responsibility of health measures on government bodies. If airports and airlines self-regulate health checks, the groups warn it could lead to a “patchwork” of risks which will confuse flyers and discourage air travel.

“To ensure their efficacy, these measures – which include health checks, sanitization and social distancing – will require implementation by the appropriate national authorities,” the two groups write in their press release. “ACI and IATA believe that existing roles and responsibilities of governments, airlines, airports and other operational stakeholders should be respected in implementing the response to the COVID-19 outbreak.”

Because both groups are putting a square focus on protecting passengers and reducing the spread of COVID-19, they are asking governments to set the lead in creating a standard set of international health screening requirements. But instead of inventing a new system, the two trade organizations want governments to adopt the International Civil Aviation Organization’s TakeOff guidance.

This isn’t the first time an aviation stakeholder group called on governments to take steps to protect flyers. The trade union Allied Pilots Organization offered their own solution, which would see the government purchasing seats to ensure social distancing on airplanes.

Airports and Airlines Step Up Health Screening

The request by IATA and ACI comes as both airports and airlines implement screening procedures to try and identify passengers who are potentially flying with COVID-19 onboard their systems. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is introducing a screening system using thermal cameras for international arrivals and departures. Passengers who are identified with a temperature potentially in excess of 100.4 degrees are asked to take a secondary screening, before determining next steps.

Meanwhile, members or trade group Airlines for America as instituting their own “Health Acknowledgement” requirement. During check-in, flyers will be asked if they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, if they have experienced any symptoms in the past two weeks, and must accept face mask policies. Those who fail the initial screening may be asked to fly on a different date.

Feature image courtesy: Chicago Department of Aviation

View Comments (5)

5 Comments

  1. KenTarmac

    July 2, 2020 at 1:15 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. Now where’s our government leadership??? Oh, wait … never mind.

  2. arcticflier

    July 2, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    Oh, yes, these questions will most certainly be answered with 100% honesty.

    “During check-in, flyers will be asked if they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, if they have experienced any symptoms in the past two weeks….Those who fail the initial screening may be asked to fly on a different date.“

  3. bloomz

    July 3, 2020 at 4:37 pm

    Since it was our gubmint that f’d it all up for the US – absolutely, AMOF take it out of his personal account – if he doesn’t have it his boss will.

  4. edgewood49

    July 4, 2020 at 6:35 am

    With respect to “leadership” this is a world wide issue and frankly where’s the “playbook” from previous “leadership” just not there. It’s easy to say let the government pay for it fine but who is the government US its our tax dollars and folks wake up and smell the coffee, Taxes are going to go through the roof and social programs in the tank. Airline fares are going up nothing only from the airlines paying for their heavy debt load but travel taxes imposed to pay for all this. So the end result to the government paying for it is US.

  5. cscasi

    July 7, 2020 at 11:56 am

    “Two prominent international aviation groups are asking the government to pick up the bill for public health initiatives at airports, including flyer screening and sanitization. In a press release, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airports Council International (ACI) asked international governments to come to the aviation sector’s aid to keep flyers safe and restart the aviation community.”

    Of course these groups who represent the airlines want the government to pay for everything they can get.
    Instead, the airports need to have a charge for people using the airports; including the cost of the entry checks performed and cleaning, etc. Why should the government have to pay for everything? The government gives airports money each year as it is.
    Time for everyone to get off the gravy train. The federal government can do so much. But, when it starts taking over things, people begin to bitch and raise hues and cries that the government is being too controlling.
    The airlines would love the government to pay for everything, too. Why not? It relieves the airlines for having to make financial decisions and decisions that passengers will try to blame them for.
    It is a das fact of life today, folks. We are going to have to suffer through this for a while longer. But, in the end, we will all be better off for it.

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