The global trade body for airports, Airports Council International World (ACI) has issued guidance on best practices as airports adapt their airfield operations in response to the effects and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Based on a survey of the members of the ACI World Safety and Technical Standing Committee, around half of respondents had experienced a 90 percent or greater reduction in aircraft movements, and 64 percent had a 70 percent or greater reduction.
Even with enormous restrictions on travel, most airports surveyed had not restricted their hours of operation due to COVID-19 but three-quarters of respondents indicated that they have closed some of their airside infrastructure. Most have had to implement special arrangements to park large numbers of grounded aircraft.
The new advisory bulletin provides guidance on accommodating parked aircraft as well as the maintenance of airside infrastructure (runways, taxiways, aprons, stands, piers), the management of airside operations teams, and continuing essential cargo operations.
(Download the new bulletin here.)
“The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented disruption of global air transport and has imposed operational challenges to airside infrastructure,” ACI World Director General Angela Gittens said. “Despite the dramatic decline in passenger traffic, many airports remain open for cargo operations and the continuity of the air cargo business is essential for communities, the global economy at large and, for fighting the ongoing pandemic.
“The health and welfare of travellers, staff and the public, and limiting the spread of communicable diseases, are the priorities for the aviation industry and ‘business as usual’ no longer applies,” she added. “It is imperative for airports to implement necessary measures to ensure best safety practices for airfield operations and this guidance will assist them in this work.”