ICAO urges Middle East states not to deviate from recovery guidelines

Sticking to a common set of guidelines will aid a smoother recovery and ensure greater passenger confidence, say industry bodies
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Aviation bodies representing various markets and parts of the industry have jointly urged governments in the Middle East to implement a common set of guidelines designed to assist the recovery of the airline industry in the region.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airports Council International (ACI) Asia-Pacific have joined the International Civil Aviation Organization Middle East (ICAO MID) in urging the governments implement guidelines set out by ICAO.

ICAO’s framework proposes a phased approach to restarting aviation and recommends a set of measures designed to mitigate the risk of transmitting the virus.

“This is a ‘living guidance’ which will be continuously updated based on the latest medical and operational advice and risk assessments as the world starts to reconnect,” said ICAO’s acting regional director for the Middle East, Mohamed Smaoui.

IATA’s Middle East regional vice president, Muhammad Albakri, said that the guidance recognises that social distancing is not possible on an aircraft and so supports face coverings instead.

“And it recommends contact tracing which should give governments the confidence to open borders without quarantine measures. Local deviations and exceptions will damage public confidence and make it harder to operate effectively slowing down the industry restart.”

Demand for air travel in the Middle East is forecast to fall 56% in 2020 year-on-year and airlines in the region are expected to post a net loss of $4.8 billion.

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