The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA), Airports Council International Latin America and the Caribbean (ACI-LAC) and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), are jointly reaching out to governments in Latin America and the Caribbean to ensure that employees in the aviation sector are considered as essential workers during the impending COVID-19 vaccine campaign.
The industry’s call to governments is aligned with the World Health Organisation’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunisation proposed Roadmap for Prioritising Uses of COVID-19 Vaccines. This outlines priority populations for vaccination based on epidemiologic setting and vaccine supply scenarios. Within this framework, SAGE has included transportation workers alongside other essential sectors outside health and education sectors such as, for example, police.
“The healthcare system across Latin America and the Caribbean relies heavily on air transport for the delivery of its supplies. Unlike other parts of the world, for example North America or Europe, there are very few alternatives like road or rail which can provide fast, safe and reliable transport – especially where such special considerations like cooling and refrigeration are required. As calculations show, it will require the equivalent of 8,000 Boeing 747 freighter aircraft for global vaccine distribution. It is therefore essential that we have the qualified workforce in place to ensure a functioning logistics chain”, commented Peter Cerdá, IATA’s Regional Vice President, the Americas.
Simon Hocquard, CANSO director general added: “The aviation industry provides vital connectivity in the Latin America and Caribbean region and the aviation workforce is essential to guaranteeing on-time distribution of the vaccine. CANSO is committed to supporting the air traffic management (ATM) industry throughout the recovery and beyond and we need governments in the Latin America and Caribbean region to work together and collaborate with the aviation industry to ensure the viability of all aviation sectors. CANSO is working with all international organisations, and stakeholders to support flights carrying the vaccines and will be activating the Planned Airway System Alternative (PASA) Routes process which will enable these flights to reach their destination via the most expeditious route.”