UK and Singapore partner to boost aviation staff safety
The UK and Singapore have started trials to test the crew module of the Council Aviation Recovery Taskforce (CART) ‘Take-off’ guidelines made by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
These guidelines are expected to decrease the public health risk to airport staff, air passengers and air crew, and boost passenger confidence in travel amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The trial has welcomed participation from ICAO, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority, Changi Airport, Heathrow Airport, British Airways and Singapore Airlines.
Initially, the trials will test the air crew safety measures during flights between Singapore and the UK.
Measures that will be implemented include maintaining safe distancing, meeting the relevant customs, immigration and health requirements, maintaining good hand hygiene and decreased interactions with passengers.
In addition, air crew will stay at their accommodation during flight layovers at the respective countries.
These measures have been created under the ICAO CART guidelines and have been modified to meet the requirements of each state.
Participating parties will collect the data for all phases of the flights. The three partners will then analyse and review the data to increase the guidelines where necessary.
CAAS director-general Kevin Shum said: “Singapore is pleased to participate in the trials. The ICAO CART ‘Take-off’ guidance document offers a set of guidelines for coordinating the international aviation community’s steps towards recovery and to build up public confidence for international travel.
“These guidelines take a flexible and pragmatic approach by focusing on what makes operational and economic sense, bearing in mind that different countries would face different conditions, risks and risk tolerance. The trials will help validate and improve the processes, where needed.”
UK Civil Aviation Authority CEO Richard Moriarty said: “Aviation is an inherently international industry, so it is critical that we collaborate closely with our partners around the world to address the challenges presented by Covid-19.
“The UK CAA is therefore very pleased to be contributing to these trials. Ultimately, this work should help keep aviation as safe as possible for both passengers and crew throughout the current pandemic.”
The measures are incorporated into the regional implementation planning in aid of the ‘Public Health Corridors’, which will be launched by ICAO.
Melbourne Airport implements safety and hygiene improvements
Melbourne Airport in Australia has implemented new hygiene and safety improvements to aid passengers as they resume travelling amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The airport has installed hand sanitiser units in all terminals near the check-in kiosks, lifts, and inside gate lounges. They are also located near the lifts in car parks and taxi ranks.
Antibacterial wipes are present inside the baggage reclaim area and near the trolley pick-up stations and food courts. As a result, passengers will be able to clean their luggage, trolleys and tables.
Physical distancing floor markings are also located at check-in, security screening and gate lounges.
In addition, the airport has spaced out its seating to ensure that passengers do not stay close to each other for a long time.
Melbourne Airport CEO Lyell Strambi said: “We know some people may feel a little uncertain about air travel, which is why we have taken extra steps to introduce practical measures that will help make people feel safe across the airport.
“We have engaged with health professionals to review the terminal building and we will continue to work closely with our airline customers, stakeholders and government to monitor and implement relevant measures in response to Covid-19.
“Ultimately we all share in the responsibility to stop the spread of the coronavirus, so if anyone is feeling unwell they should not come to the airport at all.”
Melbourne Airport also stated that it has partnered with its contractors and staff to make sure that they adhere to safety protocols.
Last month, Melbourne Airport reported a year-on-year decrease of 98% in its April passenger numbers due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
Norwegian airports to introduce touchless check-in and bag drop
Avinor, the firm that operates Norway’s 44 state-owned airports, has partnered with Amadeus to introduce a contactless check-in and bag drop programme at its airports, offering passengers a safe and easier travel experience.
Amadeus’ contactless check-in and bagdrop application allows passengers to check in for a flight remotely. They will receive a boarding pass barcode sent to their mobile phone, which will also act as a coupon to print the bag tag.
Passengers can get baggage tags automatically printed by presenting the barcode to a self-serve kiosk at the terminal. They can then attach the tag and deposit their bag into the baggage system, without any support from agents.
The touchless programme will initially be implemented at Norway’s Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger and Trondheim airports. The service is first being offered to passengers flying on SAS, Norwegian Air and Widerøenational carriers.
Avinor airports are also currently offering touchless boarding, allowing passengers to present their boarding passes on their phones in order to board the aircraft.
Avinor Group CIO Brede Nielsen said: “We’ve worked quickly and flexibly with Amadeus and ICM to build and deploy new technology to make it both safer and easier to fly from our airports. We’re now in a strong position to serve increased numbers of passengers travelling during the summer period.
“The summer period is normally the busiest season in Norway, and we are welcoming families and others that only travel once or twice a year. Our goal has been to design our touchless travel process to be as easy and intuitive as we can.”
UK airports applaud government’s decision to lift quarantine measures
British airports have applauded the UK Government’s decision to lift the quarantine measures for passengers from countries with a lower risk of coronavirus from 10 July.
The government’s list comprises 59 countries, including Spain, Italy and New Zealand while passengers coming from the US, still considered at high risk, will have to continue to isolate.
The decision was based on a risk assessment carried out by the Joint Biosecurity Centre alongside Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer. The assessment took into consideration factors such as the prevalence of the virus, the number of cases and the trajectory of the disease in each country.
“We welcome news that people will soon be able to fly into Gatwick from a range of countries without needing to self-isolate,” commented Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate.
“Alongside changes to the government’s official travel advice, this announcement provides a significant boost to consumer confidence and sends a very clear message that it is now safe to take summer holidays abroad, visit family and friends and take international business trips again.”
The move was implemented to help revive the economy, in particular tourism and the aviation sector.
“Today marks the next step in carefully reopening our great nation,” commented Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
“Whether you are a holidaymaker ready to travel abroad or a business eager to open your doors again, this is good news for British people and great news for British businesses.”
As part of the assessment, countries will continuously be kept under review and self-isolation measures will be reintroduced if numbers go up.
Passengers and airports will also need to abide by health and safety measures, in order to protect both customers and staff.
“Gatwick has a range of measures in place to protect the wellbeing and safety of both passengers and staff. This includes asking passengers to bring and wear their own face-covering throughout the airport and also to check our latest health guidance before leaving home,” said Wingate.
“We welcome the Transport Secretary’s risk-based approach as it is a step in the right direction to restoring confidence in international travel and kickstarting the country’s economic recovery,” commented Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye.
“More work is now needed on the creation of a Common International Standard to facilitate the resumption of trade and travel to countries deemed to still pose a risk.”
“The trials at Heathrow for screening and testing will help accelerate this.”
ACI and IATA urge governments to assume costs of any health measures
The Airports Council International (ACI) World and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have called on governments to assume the expenses of public health measures.
The organisations noted that the aviation industry has just started to resume operations.
Although the industry is in a disastrous situation financially, the health and safety of passengers and staff is the top priority for airports and airlines.
Several governments across the globe are mandating the implementation of new health measures to safeguard the public and give confidence to travellers.
However, the extra cost of implementing the solutions related to public health measures further adds to the financial burden of airports and airlines, according to the organisations.
ACI World director general Luis Felipe de Oliveira said: “As airport and airline operations begin to slowly recover, the health and safety of passengers and staff is paramount and many new health measures are being considered by governments for implantation at airports.
“As the industry navigates the complexities of restarting operations, ACI believes the cost of any health measures that are required should be borne by governments.
“ACI and IATA are aligned on this issue, as set out in the Safely Restarting Aviation ACI and IATA Joint Approach, which was our input to ICAO’s TakeOff guidance.
“This laid out that public funding of health measures should be ensured, including but not limited to infrastructure or operational changes needed for their implementation.”
Earlier this month, Airports Council International (ACI) World released its Smart Security Vision 2040, offering its vision for seamless airport security screening operations in the post-Covid-19 era.
Delhi Airport introduces QR-coded e-gate facility at cargo terminal
Delhi International Airport (DIAL) in India has introduced an e-gate pass facility at its cargo terminal in a bid to make the cargo handling process hassle-free and to ensure social distancing in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This paperless, QR-coded arrangement is expected to help speed up the delivery of goods while saving resources.
It requires airlines, consolidators or freight forwarders to upload a scanned copy of the Master Airway Bill or House Airway Bill in the custodian system.
The customs broker agent will then submit the request for an e-gate pass. After verification by the cargo terminal operator, a QR code will be generated.
A DIAL spokesperson has been quoted by The New Indian Express as saying: “The move has been highly appreciated by the customs and other stakeholders.
“Earlier, the cargo clearing agents had to go through various documentation procedures and had to stand in queues at designated counters at the cargo terminal for issuance of gate pass.”
According to the report, the airport is implementing the new facility in association with its cargo terminal operators.
The e-gate pass facility is currently open to all stakeholders as an optional service. It will be made mandatory from 15 July.
Delhi Airport reportedly has two integrated cargo terminals with capacity to handle over 1.8 million tonnes of cargo annually.
The airport also has a trans-shipment excellence centre at the airside and 12 dedicated freighter parking bays to help in the smooth and efficient movement of cargo.
US to provide $800m for airport safety and infrastructure projects
US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has announced that the US Government will provide airport safety and infrastructure grants worth around $800m.
The grants will be provided via the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to 46 states and four territories, namely Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Marshall Islands.
Chao stated: “This nearly $800m federal investment in airport infrastructure will strengthen safety, improve travel, generate jobs and provide many economic benefits for local communities.”
Of the funds, around $689m will be provided from the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and $104.4m under the CARES Act grants, which is 100% federal funded.
FAA administrator Stephen Dickson said: “These 383 grants will allow airport sponsors to either begin or complete construction projects that will maintain the safety and efficiency of our national airport system.”
The grants will be provided for different critical infrastructure and safety projects, including the purchase of aircraft rescue and firefighting equipment and the construction or rehabilitation of runways and taxiways.
The grant money will also be used to install aircraft lighting and signage, to carry out airport master plan studies and to fit airport perimeter fencing.
This April, FAA announced airport safety and infrastructure grants worth $1.18bn to 439 US airports.
In the same month, on behalf of the US Department of Transport (USDOT), Chao announced an award of $10bn to commercial and general aviation airports under the CARES Act Airport Grant Program.
In February, USDOT announced airport infrastructure grants worth $520.5m to 287 airports located across 41 US states.
BAC and ACI partner to implement virtual training course
Airports Council International (ACI) and Bahrain Airport Company (BAC) have partnered to conduct a virtual training course amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Named ‘Airport Non-Aeronautical Revenues’, the eight-day virtual course will include sessions from instructor Andre Bergeron, team exercises, presentations, and polling exercises.
The programme, which will be delivered leveraging ACI’s newly developed virtual classroom, will be the first programme outside of its Airport Management Professional Accreditation Program (AMPAP).
BAC Human Resources vice-president Hind Mahmood said: “We are pleased to become the first airport operator to roll out this milestone training and development initiative.
“Thanks to close collaboration between the BAC and ACI training teams, the course was launched in record time and tailored to meet our requirements. Our Tahleeq team members will benefit from the expertise and insight of one of the world’s leading aviation organisations.”
The course will study non-aeronautical revenues, which are crucial for the financial success of airports in situations like the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition, it will help participants to collaborate with airport partners to identify and exploit available opportunities leveraging innovation, competitiveness, and new technologies.
Mahmood added: “We have reached a crucial stage of the Airport Modernization Program (AMP), and ensuring our staff are ready for the transfer to the new terminal is vital. Through this course, our team members can continue to safely and efficiently develop the advanced skills required for the AMP.”
ACI World, which represents global airports, delivers airport management and operations education, offering executive leadership, professional accreditation, subject-matter competency, and personalised training courses.
Earlier this month, ACI World urged governments to provide immediate assistance and relief for airports to aid their operational restart.