The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has renewed its calls for a coordinated approach among governments to keep air cargo flowing. Delays in permit approvals, quarantine measures for air cargo crew and insufficient support on the ground continue to hamper the movement of cargo flights carrying vital medical supplies and other necessities.
Many governments and international regulatory bodies are facilitating the movement of air cargo. The European Commission (EC) issued Guidelines on Facilitating Air Cargo Operations During COVID-19 Outbreak. The World Customs Organization (WCO) has implemented a series of emergency contacts to ensure cargo border blockages can be responded to immediately, and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has issued a series of state letters urging member states to further facilitate air cargo flows during this time of crisis.
However, there are still too many examples of delays in getting charter permits issued, a lack of exemptions on COVID-19 testing for air cargo crew, and inadequate ground infrastructure to/from and within airport environments. Air cargo needs to move efficiently throughout the entire supply chain to be effective.
“To keep cargo flights operating safely, airlines need access to alternate airports along all routes. These alternate airports are where aircraft can land in the event of an emergency during flight. Because of the sharp drop in passenger flights, some airports that serve the critical alternate airport function are closed or not available at all times. A coordinated effort by governments to keep alternate airports operational is needed. If not, the global air cargo network cannot function and vital shipments are at risk,” said Glyn Hughes, IATA’s Global Head of Air Cargo.Email Post to a Friend