European Aviation Associations and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) agreed to strengthen efforts to ensure a consistent and safe travel experience for passengers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

EASA and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) have developed protocols for the measures that airports, airlines and operators should adopt to ensure a safe return to normal operations. 

The guidelines address the entire journey from the passenger’s perspective, at the departure airport, on board of the aircraft and at arrival. They contain specific, complementary measures devised to ensure the protection of passengers and crews against the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

Passengers are required to take personal responsibility, for example by not even coming to the airport if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

To strengthen the implementation of these measures, Airlines for Europe (A4E), the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) and IATA have signed a cooperation agreement with EASA to promote the harmonized and coordinated implementation of the EASA/ECDC protocols by industry, governments, and travelers.  

A complementary Charter program has been set up by EASA to monitor the implementation of the guidelines and provide feedback. Over 60 organizations serving millions of passengers have signed up to the charter on a voluntary basis. 

“The aviation industry has worked closely with health authorities and regulators worldwide to develop protocols to safely restart operations,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe. “The ICAO Take-off guidelines set an international framework for safeguarding public health, and in Europe, the EASA/ECDC Protocols are similarly aligned. This mutual cooperation agreement with EASA will promote a coordinated implementation of the operational guidelines in order to facilitate the recovery of air travel.”

“The endorsement of our guidelines by IATA, A4E, EBAA and ERA establishes these procedures as the standard for the European aviation industry,” said EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky. “Consistent implementation of the guidelines is critical to rebuilding passenger confidence, which is in turn fundamental for a decision to travel by air, whether for leisure or for business.”

“It is important that national authorities play their part in ensuring the guidelines are followed and avoid unilaterally introducing measures which create inconsistencies,” he added. “All industry players, every employee and the travelling public themselves need to follow the same guidelines at every step of the journey from airport to destination, so as to create a safe environment for all.”

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