Airports Council International Latin America & Caribbean statement on Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
March 12, 2020 – The COVID-19 outbreak is of considerable concern to the aviation industry and poses specific challenges in terms of traffic, revenues and connectivity.
An increasing number of governments of the region are imposing strict travel restrictions prohibiting the entrance of passengers from different parts of the world. These actions, together with the severe travel restrictions imposed by the United States, will generate an unprecedented level of flight disruptions affecting our passengers, airlines, airports and communities we serve.
Airports are key players in the aviation industry and will be heavily affected both in terms of reduced traffic volumes and lower revenues due to the reduction in demand and cancelation of flights. There is a general travel confidence issue causing consumers to pull demand forward, events being cancelled, and businesses reducing their normal activity. Consequently, impacts on travel and its negative social and economic consequences will be felt even more strongly into the second quarter of 2020, and will require further monitoring and analysis. ACI-LAC will issue updated traffic and economic impact forecasts shortly.
ACI-LAC has issued guidance material to help airports of the region prepare to deal with the outbreak and to collaborate with national health authorities, in line with recommendations from the World Health Organization.
Airports recognize that all stakeholders of the aviation industry are equally impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, and as such favors a strengthened cooperation between airports, airlines, regional and international airline trade associations (ALTA, IATA) and regulatory authorities. In this regard, ACI-LAC:
- Encourages airports to work closely with their respective health authorities to implement measures to help monitor and control the spread of the disease;
- Requests governments of the region to reduce the overall costs to the industry to mitigate the impact of this exceptional situation, including government taxes, concession fees and government service fees;
- Understands the need to temporarily provide flexibility in the application of slot rules;
- Encourages airports, airlines, regulators and governments to collaborate and take all necessary joint actions to stimulate the industry under these exceptional circumstances.
Airport operators remain first and foremost concerned with protecting the health and welfare of travelers, their staff and the public, and reducing opportunities for transmission of communicable diseases. ACI-LAC makes itself available to other stakeholders and the international and national authorities to evaluate and coordinate actions to minimize the spread of the disease and ensure the sustainability of the air transport industry.