The below suggested guiding protocols for airports were compiled based on insights and frameworks developed by Airport Council International (ACI) around the safe, healthy and responsible reopening of airports to the public. The protocols are consistent and aligned with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s “Takeoff: Guidance for Air Travel through the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis” which provides more detailed guidance for the aviation industry and for implementation by States. The protocols also take into account guidelines of recognised institutions including World Health Organisation (WHO). The objective is to ensure that protocols are in place across all relevant functions to embrace a safe travel experience, with an increased focus on health and safety guidance which travellers will need and expect.
OPERATIONAL AND STAFF PREPAREDNESS
As airports restart their operations, they should ensure they can achieve operational excellence in the “new normal” and have trained staff to prepare and execute on the operational plans. Airports may achieve operational readiness for reopening by having obtained the applicable reopening license if required by local government considering that there may be a separate system for crew as it relates to border restrictions.
ENSURING A SAFE EXPERIENCE
As airports work to ensure they deliver a safe experience for their staff and travellers through enhanced cleanliness and hygiene best practices, airports should ensure they have implemented processes focused on enhanced sanitation and disinfection as well as increase in cleaning/disinfection frequency.
REBUILDING TRUST & CONFIDENCE
As airports work to rebuild trust and confidence through transparency and communication with travellers, they should ensure they have clear, consistent, and enhanced communication with travellers on new health & hygiene safety protocols via the organisation’s channels, both digitally and physically at airports.
IMPLEMENTING ENABLING POLICIES
As airports work to recover, it is essential that enabling policies be implemented at the governmental level.
Note that these protocols are subject to change and may be enhanced as new information about the virus becomes available. These recommendations are based on the operational characteristics of each airport and consultation is recommended prior to implementation. It is recommended that all airport practices follow local and national legislation and the latest guidance from public health organisations.
It is essential to note that the measures highlighted are based on higher risk contexts and hubs where sustained ongoing transmission is evident. As such, there will be a need to moderate the protocols on the basis of local risk assessment levels, as they may not be necessary for low risk hubs. Similarly, the size and density of the airport and its spaces should be accounted for in the
determination of policies. Measures should be limited in time and re-evaluated and monitored regularly. In effect, it will be critical to reduce the measures as the risk diminishes. What is more, when more effective, suitable and less disruptive and scientifically supported measures become available, they should be implemented at the earliest opportunity and defunct measures removed.
Source: World travel and Tourism Council