Airlines for Europe (A4E) and European Regions Airline Associations (ERA) have welcomed the new “Facilitating Air Cargo Operations during COVID-19 outbreak” guidelines issued by the European Commission. The guidelines provide member states with clear indications on how to ensure that the air freight sector continues to operate despite the health measures in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.
As travel bans and a drop in passenger demand continue amidst the coronavirus pandemic, air cargo has dropped dramatically but remains as vital as ever. At the moment, European airlines are facing severe difficulties to maintain cargo operations.
“The guidelines are welcome and now we call on member states not only to adopt them, but to go the extra step needed to keep cargo airlines in the air”, Andrew Kelly, ERA president, has said. “Cargo airlines’ flight crews have been maintaining operations since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in China. Flights into coronavirus epicentres have never stopped as cargo airlines transported vital medical supplies, personal protection equipment and other cargo essential to the economic supply line. The additional costs of network changes, re-routing flights, ferry and positioning flights and significant hotel costs, where hotels are available are a significant additional burden on cargo airlines, with many essential routes and services now unsustainable.”