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ICAO Launches iPACKs to Help Industry Recover From COVID-19

By Alicia Arizpe | Tue, 07/14/2020 - 11:17

Amid the global crisis the global aviation industry is facing due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) introduced a series of implementation packages (iPACKs) that include guidelines to help the industry survive and recover.

The global aviation industry is set to lose US$419 billion during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought air travel to lows not previously seen in history. The plummeting demand has already led several airlines to file for bankruptcy protection in a US court, including major Latin American players LATAM Airlines, Avianca and Aeroméxico. Under these circumstances, industry associations have developed a series of guidelines that are designed to help airlines gradually return to the skies, while protecting passengers’ health and ensuring the timely transportation of necessary cargo.

The newly introduced iPACKs compile standardized guidance material and tools, including public health and risk management measures for civil aviation authorities, aviation service providers and other stakeholders to support ICAO’s member states in their recovery efforts. “ICAO is looking forward to working closely with states, partners and donors to deploy these important new resources for states and industry. We are confident that the iPACKs will provide significant support to the response, recovery and resilience efforts now ongoing and will help re-establish the needed capacity to reconnect the world,” said Fang Liu, Secretary General of ICAO.

ICAO’s guidelines were designed following the organization’s Take-off: Guidance for Air Travel Through the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis document, which provides a comprehensive series of steps designed to minimize exposure risks for travelers and crews. This document was drafted by ICAO in alliance with major industry associations including the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Airports Council International (ACI) and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO) to support and restart the industry. It includes recommendations for airports, airlines, crews and air cargo to build up trust among potential travelers and get them flying again. The organization hopes that getting passengers to return will be a key step in restarting operations and eventually transitioning to safe high-volume and international travel. “Addressing priority areas for states and industry such as aviation safety, security, public health, passenger facilitation, airports and air navigation services and air transport economics, these new ICAO iPACKs have been developed in full alignment with the ICAO Council’s Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) Report and associated ‘Take-off’ guidelines,” said Liu.

Alicia Arizpe Alicia Arizpe Senior Writer