After a shock without precedent, air transport starts on the track for the surfer with an arsenal of anti-Covid-19, “key” reboot, which will need to be harmonised at the global level to avoid a “patchwork” of measures, ” says Alexandre de Juniac, director general of Iata.
“A key to the restart of the travel is a process of screening of passengers that is robust, ( … ), which restored confidence” and allows to “convince the government to lift the closure procedures of the borders,” believes the boss of the international air transport Association (Iata), which comprises 290 airlines, in an interview with the AFP.
“We are in the process of building something that is both safe and allows you to run operations economically viable manner”, he says, pulling away with force the idea to condemn the seats to allow a distancing of physical edge.
“It would not be adding more security to have to neutralize the seats,” says Mr de Juniac.
“In addition, the economic impact would be absolutely catastrophic,” and would then “increase prices by 50 to 100%,” he continued.
Discussions are ongoing at the level of the Organization of the international civil aviation organization (ICAO) and of the great States “to try to have a convergent approach and harmonised on the planet as a whole on the system of sanitary control,” which will be put in place by the air transport actors. They should, according to him, achieving this by “end of may”.
This is to avoid the “patchwork quilt” of security measures that had followed the attacks of 11 September, in particular regarding control of the passengers, he commented.
Declaration of health on arrival at the airport, temperature control, wearing a mask in the airport and on the plane, and the distribution of food pre-packed for limit contacts, disinfection of the aircraft, limiting the number of carry-on baggage or a baggage delivery accelerated: the sector relies on a superposition of measures combined with systems of air filtration are very efficient in the aircraft to create a mesh anti-Covid.
The passengers “are ready to be reclaimed”
The closure of borders and restrictions on movement put in place around the world to prevent the spread of the coronavirus have worn since march to a halt in the air transport.
“No one has ever known it. No previous crisis has been to this level,” says the boss of Iata.
Between 80% and 90% of the global fleet has been nailed to the ground, and this is only from June that the traffic will restart, first on domestic routes, then continental, and finally, inter-continental, according to Iata, which estimates that it will never regain its pre-crisis level in 2023.
So far, only “three or four companies” have gone bankrupt, according to Mr. de Juniac, in which the giant Virgin Australia that was announced at the end of April will be voluntarily suspension of payments.
But tens of thousands of jobs have been deleted.
If the companies survive, it is because, according to him, the response “very fast and very strong,” in which States have shown to support, in various forms, the industry everywhere in the world “considering that this is a sector that is absolutely strategic”.
Commitments environments maintained
With respect to the environmental commitments in the sector, which should reduce its CO2 emissions by half in 2050 compared to 2005 according to the rules defined by ICAO, they will be required, he promises.
“We are trying to convince governments to devote a part of their plan of economic support to develop bio-fuels (bio-fuels, ED)”.
“The renewal of the fleets (aircraft less polluting, ED) may be a little slowed down (…) but there will also be a little smaller than the planes that will be flying and therefore a little less emissions”, he adds.
On the question of the counterparties to the aid required by States, as in France, for example, on the environmental front, Mr. de Juniac believes that it is “rather complicated to weigh down a process while it was in the process of drowning”.
“Anyway, we’re going to take our environmental commitments”, he says.