#barig.aerogram 2020 - Testing Instead of Generalized Quarantine Regulations, and Future-oriented Actions
After the Aviation Summit, BARIG focuses on Tangible Measures for the Recovery of Air Traffic
On the occasion of the air traffic summit with the Federal Minister of Transport, Andreas Scheuer, and further federal government representatives this past Friday, BARIG, the national association of airlines operating in Germany, demands the implementation of target-oriented policies. This will not only benefit the entire air traffic industry in Germany, but the economy and the tourism sector as a whole, as well as the preservation of jobs, mobility, trade and, last but not least, the people. According to Michael Hoppe, Chairman and Secretary General of BARIG, who attended the summit, the current situation calls for three key issues in particular:
1. Improved testing strategies rather than quarantine regulations, and the creation of safe travel corridors
BARIG urges the Federal Government to adapt the testing strategy in cross-border air traffic, including intercontinental air traffic. By now, reliable quick tests present a more sensible and appropriate alternative to preventive, resource-intensive quarantine procedures. With the help of such quick tests, travel corridors can be established in which travelers no longer have to comply with additional quarantine obligations or restrictions. Promising international trial routes are already in place, such as from Vienna to Berlin or from San Francisco to Hawaii and shortly from New York/Newark to London Heathrow and between Singapore and Hong Kong. Therefore, BARIG recognizes great potential for further secure travel corridors between German airports and various important economic centers abroad.
2. Building trust through precise and appropriate communication
Currently, many people still suspect a high risk of infection when boarding an aircraft. Yet, multiple independent studies conducted by a variety of relevant institutions, such as the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health or the US Department of Defense through the U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM), have proven that the numerous measures taken by the aviation industry (mask obligation, HEPA air filters in airplanes, air circulation, intensified cleaning routines, and much more) ensure safety. Based on data obtained by IATA, only one passenger out of 27 million passengers between January and August 2020 was registered as possibly having contracted Covid-19 on his journey from airport to airport. Statistically speaking, the risk of an infection is therefore lower than the risk of being struck by lightning. Aviation today is a safe means of transportation in terms of health. It is therefore imperative to provide more accurate and differentiated reports on possible infection hazards and infection chains in cross-border travel. In this context, the respective observations by the Robert Koch Institute on the actual nature of the infection or introduction risks must also be taken into account.
3. Political support for the aviation industry must be future-oriented
In addition to the urgent short-term measures implemented by the aviation industry to overcome the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is necessary to take into account and plan for the long-term stabilization. Thus, the air transport sector must not be subject to massive extra costs in the coming years that may result from the current crisis, be it in air traffic control, aviation security, airport charges or other system costs. Air traffic is systemically relevant for Germany. For this reason, we call on the federal and state governments to provide immediate solutions to the difficulties created by the Covid-19 crisis, and not by the industry itself, in order to ensure the much-needed recovery and restore the previous independence of the aviation sector.