COVID-19: UN’s ICAO creates ‘Aviation Recovery Task Force’ to help ‘re-boot’ industry

Group includes ICAO members, high-level aviation industry reps, leaders of all major air transport industry associations, WHO reps, tourism reps and heads of national and regional aviation administrations.

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ICAO HQ

The United Nations (UN) agency responsible for setting global aviation standards, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has created a “Aviation Recovery Task Force” to help coordinate the industry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe and which has basically brought commercial passenger traffic to a halt.

A screenshot of the Johns Hopkins University virus tracking site. To access the live site, click on the image above. (PHOTO: Matt Driskill)

The task force is composed of ICAO council members, high-level aviation industry representatives, the heads of all major air transport industry associations and UN entities like the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) are also represented along with the heads of several national and regional aviation administrations.

As chairman of ICAO’s Air Transport Committee, French representative Philippe Bertoux was appointed by ICAO Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano to serve as the chairman of the task force. Boubacar Djibo, director of the ICAO Air Transport Bureau, will serve as its secretary. The ICAO council expects the first outcome by the task force by the end of May 2020.

Cathay Pacific has grounded nearly half its fleet and other airlines like Qantas have also grounded almost all of their widebody jets because of the halt in commercial aviation. (PHOTO: Shutterstock)

The aim of the task force will be to identify and recommend strategic priorities and policies for states and industry operators. It will leverage all available government and industry data toward solutions to the immediate challenges being felt sector-wide, and the priorities to be addressed to reboot the network for a post-COVID-19 world and make it more resilient and responsive in the process, ICAO said in announcing the formation.

Salvatore Sciacchitano, president of the ICAO Council. (PHOTO: File)

“As we know, air connectivity is critical to economic and sustainable development in every region of the world. Consequently, an effective recovery of international air transport is essential to support the post COVID-19 pandemic worldwide economic recovery,” said Sciacchitano as he addressed the first meeting of the task force. We are not talking of a recovery after an international air transport crisis. International air transport has faced several crises in the past from which it was able to regain its position thanks to timely initiatives by ICAO. The progress achieved over the course of decades could be entirely erased if international air transport does not resume soon and effectively. In these uncertain times and exceptional circumstances, ICAO is being called upon to rescue international air transport and facilitate the resumption of operations,” Sciacchitano added.

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