With passenger demand continuing its free-fall and prospects for an industry turnaround being hampered by government travel restrictions brought on by new COVID-19 variants, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is calling on governments to adopt updated guidance issued today by the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART).
“There is a clear and urgent need to prioritise the vaccination of aviation workers to speed the progress of vaccination programmes worldwide. Aviation workers worldwide are demanding to be prioritised,” said Stephen Cotton ITF General Secretary.
“We welcome ICAO’s new pandemic response measures, especially those that target vaccination and testing protocols for air crews and passengers. We call on governments to swiftly adopt the guidance for air crews, but also to extend vaccination prioritisation for all aviation workers in line with recommendations from the World Health Organization.”
The ITF calls on governments to enable the secure exchange of COVID-19 and vaccination data to aid the development of universally recognised and accepted global standards for all passengers and crews that follow the strictest security and privacy rules.
The federation also applauded CART’s recommendation to facilitate cross-border access to medical and training facilities, including flight simulation training centres used by flight crew and air traffic controllers to maintain their certifications, experience and proficiency. ITF also supports ICAO in tackling interdependent land and air transport obstacles so that critical supplies of vaccines and other goods can get to the countries that need them particularly the ones covered by WHO’s COVAX programme.
“Millions of highly skilled air transport workers who have been impacted by grounded fleets, downsized airports and dramatically reduced operations will need to be efficiently and effectively re-integrated back into the workforce as activity picks up again,” said Joseph Tiberi, ITF Civil Aviation Section Chair.
“Advance notice, careful planning, close coordination and dialogue between corporations, governments and unions will be absolutely essential. We urge governments to implement CART’s guidance on training while also proactively providing plans and timelines related to vaccine rollout and the relaxation of travel restrictions. Both will allow the industry to properly prepare for an effective ramp-up of operations to accommodate pent up demand and kick-start the economy,” said Tiberi.