Alexandre de Juniac: A world without aviation is a bleak place. We are at the height of the summer season when people should reunite with friends and family. or explore the world on a well-deserved vacation.
In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, however, the airports are largely empty and the planes that fly are half full.
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The effects of not flying go beyond human connections and the absence of vacation. Millions of jobs have been lost – at least temporarily – and the consequences for our society and the economy are enormous.
Governments must help protect their citizens from the virus. They have to try to mitigate the effects of the economic difficulties they cause. We know that restarting aviation can help them achieve their economic goals. However, they must be able to trust that the opening of their borders can be managed without further infection.
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The situation today is exceptional, even for an industry that is very familiar with crises
While there is very little clarity of the future, there are four things that should give us — aviation’s leaders — cause for optimism.
First, many governments understand the important role that aviation will play in future recovery. and they provide relief to keep it viable.
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Second, governments are also working together to support the restart. The ICAO launch guidelines for restarting aviation were compiled in record time with great support from all areas of the industry and from governments. With the progressive implementation by an industry that has always put safety above everything else, we create a safe flight experience.
Third, more governments are lifting border restrictions. The removal of Europe‘s internal borders is a sign of hope. The next step is to reopen the external borders. This is done more carefully; But every step moves us in the right direction and should give others the confidence to do the same – without adding quarantine measures that effectively keep travel and tourism at bay.
Fourth, medicine is advancing rapidly. While we have no guarantee of a vaccine, the signs suggest that quick, accurate, and large-scale testing could soon become a reality. This has the potential to change aviation in countries that are classified as high-risk.
Of course, optimism about the future does not take away the pain we are experiencing today. The first six months of this crisis have taken their toll.
Industry losses are heading toward $ 84 billion this year. Jobs are disappearing, as are some airlines.
We have to rely on our resilience and ingenuity in a crisis. So we were able to keep the cargo moving when the passenger business collapsed. This enabled thousands of return flights. That is why our employees can immediately adjust to completely new ways of working, protect our industry and keep smiling. It also motivates us to work with governments and our industry partners to implement the global standards required for this new – and hopefully temporary – age of travel.
We still have a long way to go. However, we should have confidence that we can get to the other side, undeterred by our mission to connect the world. If we do that, great insight from this crisis – that there is no fully satisfactory substitute for it – will drive aviation.
Flying is freedom and traveling is freedom. #Ready to fly
Alexandre de Juniac is Director General and CEO of IATA. Views are personal.
(Via – Money Control)