The U.S. Travel Association joined thirteen other groups representing the aviation and travel industries in commending the administration’s new guidance to support the health and safety of air travel passengers and aviation employees.
The guidance, titled, “Runway to Recovery: The United States Framework for Airlines and Airports to Mitigate the Public Health Risks of Coronavirus,” creates a framework for airlines, airports and others to mitigate public health risks, and ensures the entire U.S. aviation system is following a safe, responsible path toward recovery.
As U.S. Travel stated last month in a congressional hearing on restarting air travel in America, there must be a comprehensive, risk-based approach to ongoing public health risks and in communicating policies to travelers. While it is not possible to eliminate 100% of the risk, the administration’s guidance is a critical step in reopening this vital sector of our industry and economy in a way that protects public health and significantly reduces risk.
The administration’s document aligns with many principles in U.S. Travel’s own health and safety guidance. More touchless solutions such as biometric screening, increasing sanitation procedures, limiting crowding in public spaces and encouraging health screenings are just some of the measures identified in the administration’s guidance as necessary to protecting the health and safety of passengers and workers alike.
Establishing comprehensive measures for mitigating public health risks is also crucial to resuming regular, international inbound travel. In 2019, international inbound travel was our nation’s largest service industry export, supporting more than 7.6 million American jobs. This is a key component of the nation’s overall recovery, and the U.S. must strive for mutual recognition and reciprocity of measures to avoid unnecessarily restrictive procedures.
The release of the “Runway to Recovery” is vital step, but much work remains to restart America’s aviation industry. U.S. Travel and other aviation industry groups will continue to collaborate with the federal government to identify the necessary steps for reopening international travel and pursue solutions that are evidence- and risk-based, practical, and consistent.
We applaud the administration for recognizing the need to create a comprehensive set of guidelines for the aviation industry, and we will continue to work with the administration and our industry partners to support the revival of air travel in America.