Safely Navigating the Industry Recovery:

Considerations for Navigating the Restart and Recovery of Air Traffic

The operational and financial impact of COVID-19 on the aviation industry is unprecedented. Air travel worldwide almost entirely stopped in April 2020. With air travellers regaining confidence and travel restrictions being eased, the aviation industry is seeing varying and changing traffic levels that are introducing new patterns of activity across the aviation supply chain. The operating and working environments continue to adapt to different factors, from uncertainty related to flight schedules to changing procedures and requirements imposed by governments and regulators. While domestic air travel has recovered to around 65% of pre-crisis levels, international air travel is still down approximately 70% due to travel restrictions. Furthermore, profiles for traffic recovery vary dramatically by region and country.

To better understand the operational impacts of COVID-19 and the challenges that can be faced by airlines and air navigation service providers (ANSPs), the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA), the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) started an initiative in 2020. The initiative included collaborative safety risk assessments (SRAs) in the context of the COVID-19 environment. The SRAs were used to shape educational webinars that were organized with experts representing the different organizations. This document captures the outcomes of the SRAs and webinars in 2020 and 2021 and provides general considerations for airlines, ANSPs and airports during restart and recovery to normal traffic levels.

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