The International Air Transport Association (Iata) has advised the governments and airlines to introduce more self-service options for passengers to help contain the spread of coronavirus disease. These self-service options should be applied for both prior to arrival at the airport as well as at the airports to minimise the contact among the people.
Pre-flight, Iata foresees the need for governments to collect passenger data in advance of travel, including health information, which should be accomplished using well-tested channels such as those used for eVisa or electronic travel authorisation programmes.
Nick Careen, senior vice president for airport, passenger cargo and security at Iata, said there is a need to collect more details of passengers prior to flight for contact tracing purposes.
"This data should be collected in electronic mode. Iata strongly recommends government to have internet portal to collect required data and this will allow wider use of data through different gadgets," Careen said.
"Passengers can complete as much check-in processes online as possible prior to arriving at the airport because this will minimise time spend at the airport and also reduce contact points. This includes remote check-in (electronic / home printed boarding passes), automated bag drops (with home printed bag tags) and self-boarding.
"Governments should also revoke regulatory obstacles to enable things such as online boarding passes and bag tags. At departure terminal, the access should be limited to workers, passengers and people accompanying speed-need passengers to reduce mobility. Temperature screen should be put in place at the entry points and screening must be carried out by professionals. Screening staff need to have the latest devices to monitor temperatures," he said. Alexandre de Juniac, director-general and CEO of Iata, said there is no single measure that will reduce risk and enable a safe re-start of flying.
"But a layering measures that are globally implemented and mutually recognised by governments can achieve the needed outcome. A layered approach has worked with safety and with security. It's the way forward for biosecurity as well," said de Juniac.
Iata suggested that boarding should be made as efficient as possible with re-designed gate areas, congestion-reducing boarding priorities, and hand luggage limitations. The global aviation body also said it would support the development of immunity passports to segregate no-risk travellers, at a time when these are backed by medical science and recognised by governments.
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