IATA calls on governments to support air cargo during pandemic

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on governments to take urgent measures to support the air cargo industry in performing its critical role in global efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Since the crisis began, air cargo has been a vital partner for governments in delivering medicines and medical equipment, including spare parts and repair components, and in keeping global supply chains functioning for time-sensitive materials. Air cargo has also proved instrumental in transporting food and other products purchased online, thereby facilitating quarantine and social distancing policies implemented by states.

However, with dramatic travel restrictions and the collapse of passenger demand severely limiting cargo capacity, IATA has called on governments to take urgent measures to ensure air cargo will be available to continue fighting the pandemic.

“Over 185,000 passenger flights have been cancelled since the end of January in response to government travel restrictions,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO. “With this, vital cargo capacity has disappeared when it is most urgently needed in the fight against COVID-19. The world’s fleet of freighter aircraft has been mobilized to make up this capacity shortfall. Governments must take urgent measures to ensure that vital supply lines remain open, efficient and effective.”

According to IATA, governments must see air cargo as an essential part of the fight against the pandemic and take the following actions:

  • Exclude air cargo operations from any COVID-19-related travel restrictions, to ensure life-saving medical products can be transported without disruptions;
  • Ensure that standardized measures are in place so that air cargo can continue to move around the world with minimal disruptions;
  • Exempt air cargo crew members, who do not interact with the public, from 14-day quarantine requirements;
  • Support temporary traffic rights for cargo operations where restrictions may apply; and
  • Remove economic impediments, such as overfly charges, parking fees, and slot restrictions to support air cargo operations.

“As we fight a global health war against COVID-19, governments must take urgent action to facilitate air cargo. Keeping cargo flowing will save lives,” de Juniac concluded.

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