21 December 2020 – ICAO made further progress on its global aviation pandemic response initiatives this week, as civil aviation regulatory heads from around the world took part in the latest round of recovery coordination meetings hosted virtually by the agency’s Regional Offices.
Speaking separately to all ICAO regions starting from 7 December until 18 December, ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu updated the national air transport authorities on the latest ICAO CART Phase II COVID-19 recovery recommendations.
She also underscored that her remarks were set against a backdrop of revised ICAO forecasts for a 60% sector-wide traffic downturn for 2020, and stressed that overall sectoral resilience and recovery continue to strongly rely on how governments align their responses and continue to strengthen the intra-regional coordination.
“The impacts the pandemic is imposing on States and operators are placing at risk not only our collective ability to reconnect the world post-pandemic,” she commented, “but even to deliver the urgent medicines and vaccines, and other perishable and high-value goods which societies everywhere are relying on in the meantime.”
A key goal of the latest ICAO pandemic coordination has been to reaffirm the importance of aviation regulators country-to-country establishing more effective partnerships with their national health authorities, in order to realize more joint decision making and effective risk management.
ICAO has also drawn attention to the fact that passenger confidence is seeing signs of improvement through countries’ establishment of special public health travel corridors.
Dr. Liu appreciated the efforts and successes which countries had already achieved in these areas, and noted that the extensive tools and resources which ICAO set out to help countries respond to the pandemic had benefitted immensely because of the commitments and collaboration they were demonstrating.
In updating the regional meetings on the new Phase II of the CART’s work, Dr. Liu noted it includes a recommendation on how countries should make use of the new ICAO Manual on Testing and Cross-border Risk Management Measures if they are considering the use of personal COVID-19 tests for air transport passengers.
“It’s important to recall as we embark on Phase II that the ultimate speed and effectiveness of our sector’s recovery is highly dependent on the measures we pursue being compatible with safety and security requirements, proportionate to the improvement of public health, flexible where possible to encourage economic recovery, and safeguarded not to distort markets,” Dr. Liu noted.
“Together these actions will allow aviation to fulfil its vital social and economic roles for your States.”