Aviation Wrap-Up August 2021

Aviation Industry Recovery – Record-high Air Cargo Supplier Delivery Times, New Tech Deployment and More

The last month of the summer of 2021 continued some of the prior months’ trends. The focus remained on the pandemic and new recovery measures. The air cargo sector maintained its strong position bolstered by record-high supplier delivery times. We saw increased deployment of technologies, and two airports experience their busiest months since the pandemic.

ICAO Council Approves New COVID-19 Recommendations

To facilitate the industry’s continued recovery, the Aviation Recovery Task Force of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) approved six new COVID-19 recommendations and updated two other guidelines. Areas of focus highlighted in its  High-Level Cover Document and Take-off Guidelines  included recommendations related to vaccine transport; air crew’s maintaining of their professional certificates, licenses, and accreditations; and countries’ national policies and spending priorities viewed in the context of supporting the aviation industry’s role in fighting the pandemic.

Among the recommendations approved by the ICAO Council were:

  • Member States should plan to put in place the necessary measures to mitigate risks associated with prolonged regulatory alleviations, and to avoid extending alleviations (both core and extended COVID-19 Contingency Related Differences (CCRDs)) beyond 31 March 2021.
  • States considering the formation of a Public Health Corridor (PHC) should actively share information with each other to implement PHCs in a harmonized manner.
  • Member States are urged to implement Addenda Nos. 1 and 2 to the ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (Doc 9284) without delay in order to facilitate the transport of COVID-19 vaccines and to permit certain dangerous goods to be carried on board aircraft to provide for a safe, sanitary operating environment for passengers and crew.
  • Member States are encouraged to consider the temporary lifting of restrictions to air cargo operations, including but not limited to granting extra-bilateral rights, in particular for all-cargo services, to foreign airlines to facilitate the transportation of essential goods, supplies and COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Member States should implement testing certificates based on the protocol, minimum dataset and implementation approaches outlined in the ICAO Manual on Testing and Cross-Border Risk Management Measures (Doc 10152) to facilitate air travel.
  • Member States should facilitate access for air crew to vaccination as quickly as possible within the World Health Organization (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) Stage III recommendations.
  • Vaccination should not be a prerequisite for international travel.
  • Member States should ensure that ICAO’s CART guidance is taken into consideration by the wider State administration in the decision-making processes on national recovery planning.

Complete details of the ICAO Council’s recommendations can be found here.

Air Cargo Supported by Superior Delivery Times

While the global supply chain has suffered with record-low inventory-to-sales ratios, air cargo has thrived by demonstrating its affordability when compared with container shipping. With supply chains’ growing congestion, product shortages, lacking capacity and pandemic related disruptions, air freight became an important resource with increasing air cargo volumes correlating with faster delivery times.

With freight capacity building on passenger flights, the increasing role of passenger-freighters and other measures being taken, we’re seeing air cargo’s ability to operate more efficiently than ever resulting in improved performance metrics. This is not to say, however, that the air cargo sector does not still remain vulnerable as a result of new COVID-19 and variant outbreaks, especially in prominent manufacturing nations such as China. Read more here.

Brazilian Airports Take the Lead on Biometrics

With six Brazilian airports already past the pilot phase of Brazil’s federal government’s air boarding facial recognition program, expect Brazilian airports to become leaders in the deployment of biometrics. This technology is well-recognized as a tool for helping facilitate on-time departures by streamlining passenger boarding processes. Using biometrics, passengers are no longer subject to measures such as presenting personal identification documents and their boarding passes.

Currently, biometrics technology is being used as part of the Embarque + Seguro program in the testing phase at Brasilia International Airport which started earlier in August 2021. Brasilia is the sixth airport in Brazil to test biometric recognition as part of this program initiated by the country’s Ministry of Infrastructure and developed by the technology firm of Sempro in partnership with the Special Secretariat for Debureaucratisation, Management and Digital Government of the Ministry of Economy.

In discussing the program, the Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Infrastructure Marcelo Sampaio stated, “Our expectation is that by the end of the year, the pilot will be completed and we will be able to launch this technology throughout the country.” For info here.

Heathrow and Frankfurt Record Their Busiest Months Since the Pandemic Began

Two prominent airports have good news to share. Both London Heathrow and Frankfurt Airport in Germany posted their busiest months since the start of the pandemic.  Heathrow records a 74% upsurge in July in its passenger numbers compared with July 2020 figures. Over 1.5 million passengers  passed through the airport; its most active month since March 2020. Frankfurt saw its passenger numbers reach 2.9 million in July 2021, which represented a 116% increase year-over-year and its highest monthly passenger volume since the pandemic began.

Across the Atlantic, North American passenger number also increased by an estimated 230% year-over-year. New York’s JFK Airport gainied the highest increases due to it being the most popular destination for passengers traveling from Heathrow.

London Heathrow’s Chief Operating Officer said it best, stating “Finally, some blue skies are on the horizon as travel and trade routes slowly reopen. The job though is far from complete. Government must now capitalize on the vaccine dividend and seize the opportunity to replace PCR test with more affordable flow tests.” Read more here.

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