Three global airline alliances, that collectively represent more than fifty per cent of the world’s passenger air traffic, have partnered together to highlight the measures airlines are adopting to assure the well-being of customers while travelling. With their Dear Travellers video, oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance share what customers can expect on their journeys over the coming months as travel restrictions are slowly eased and the world starts to recover from the effects of COVID-19.
The three alliances want to be sure, when customers are ready to fly, that they can do so with confidence, assured that airlines and airports around the world are implementing enhanced hygiene and personal safety standards to mitigate risks to health.
The ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Taskforce (CART) provides States and operators worldwide with a framework for recovering from the impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic on the global aviation transportation system. It includes specific measures to reduce the public health risk to air passengers and aviation workers, while strengthening confidence among the travelling public, the global supply chain including, and governments. This globally harmonized approach is crucial to accelerating the re-establishment of global air connectivity, which is in turn crucial to the broader global recovery from COVID-19.
Developed with help and guidance from the civil aviation stakeholder community, the guidelines recommend a phased approach to enabling the safe return to high-volume domestic and international air travel for passengers and cargo. The approach introduces a core set of measures to form a baseline aviation health safety protocol to protect air passengers and aviation workers from COVID-19. The guidance is available on ICAO’s website for free and to everyone.
The Dear Traveller video released by oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance provides a useful and important illustration of some of the measures that have been recommended.
“Safety has always been at the core of our member airlines’ operations and this will continue to be the case. With the additional health and well-being measures that have been implemented by our member airlines, and across the industry, customers can embark on their travel with confidence”, says oneworld CEO Rob Gurney.
The measures that travellers will experience during their journey from check-in to their chosen destination will include:
- A requirement or recommendation for passengers and airline staff to wear face masks both at the airport and onboard, consistent with applicable public health guidelines;
- A safe airport environment with physical distancing in all required areas;
- Increased and intensified sanitation with a focus on high-touch areas, both on the ground and in the aircraft cabin; and
- Hospital-grade high-efficiency air filters onboard modern aircraft. Known as HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air), these filters extract 99.99% of particles and airborne contaminants
Kristin Colvile, SkyTeam’s CEO, said: “The safety and well-being of passengers and employees have always been our members’ number one priority. We have seen an incredible level of cooperation within the entire aviation community to implement multiple layers of protection around health and hygiene. Passengers can be assured that when they travel many actions have been taken to enhance their personal safety in the airport, and the air.”
All three global alliances recently announced initiatives that focus on a multi-layered approach to safe operations, meeting or exceeding the stringent measures recommended by health experts, regulators and leading industry bodies.
“We are pleased to have had the opportunity to work with multiple stakeholders in the industry to deliver, in unison, a message to provide peace of mind to customers that health and hygiene safety in air travel is front and centre in the industry’s agenda, Jeffrey Goh, CEO of Star Alliance, emphasized. He added, “we are facing the biggest challenge in the history of our industry but we are equally determined to overcome it through measures that restore confidence in air travel, so that we can connect people and cultures across the world once again.”
Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. The 26 member airlines are: Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Air Portugal, THAI, Turkish Airlines and United. Star Alliance Connecting Partners are Juneyao Airlines and THAI Smile Airways.
SkyTeam is the alliance dedicated to providing passengers with a more seamless travel experience at every step of their journey. 19 member airlines working together across an extensive global network. Their members include Aeroflot, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Aeromexico, Air Europa, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Eastern, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Garuda Indonesia, Kenya Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Air, Middle East Airlines, Saudia, TAROM, Vietnam Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines.
oneworld brings together 13 world-class airlines – American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and SriLankan Airlines, and around 20 of their affiliates. Fiji Airways is a oneworld connect partner.