European airports: how to avoid the chaos by the controls of COVID-19


The organization points out that, although these data will still be well below pre-pandemic traffic levels, in August 2019 alone they received more than 262 million passengers, managing this increase will pose an unprecedented operational challenge due to to the unique combination of three factors: – Facilities with space limitations Due to the implementation of physical distancing in all those airport processes, such as medical check-in, check-in, security, commercial areas / services, immigration controls, gate area, boarding / disembarking, baggage claim and customs controls , which has resulted in restricted spaces in the terminals, increasing passenger processing times that worsens during peak hours.

More spikes in air traffic. Current airline plans suggest that air traffic will be highly concentrated in peak periods this summer, more than last year or even more than summer 2019 at some airports. Traffic spikes are common and manageable in airport facilities designed to efficiently adapt to the concentration of large volumes of passengers, but ACI Europe cautions that it will be extremely challenging when capacity is reduced as a result of physical distancing and when operational processes they are not fluent due to additional COVID-19 checks.Multiple and diverse COVID-19 controls. The passengers are now subject to additional controls at airports, intended to verify COVID-19 test certificates, passenger locator forms and quarantine documentation. These controls are usually carried out by public authorities, airlines and / or ground handling companies. They vary based on your point of origin and destination, based on different and changing standards across Europe. For example, COVID-19 test checks on departure are currently doubled or even tripled at 77% of European airports.ACI Europe CEO Olivier Jankovec said that “airports are desperate for see how its facilities come back to life, reconnecting with their destinations and supporting the much-needed recovery of EuropeBut the level of uncertainty and complexity in planning the reboot is just mind-boggling for now. “

He has also highlighted the real prospect of travelers suffering widespread chaos at airports this summer, urging governments to step up advance planning on the various issues alongside airports and airlines.

Recommendations to European governments

1. Adopt and uniformly implement the proposal for a revised Recommendation of the Council of the European Union to travel within the region published this week by the European Commission. This should ensure the lifting of travel restrictions for vaccinated travelers, as well as COVID-19 negative or recovered travelers. 2. Ensure that they will be ready to issue common and interoperable EU digital COVID-19 certificates no later than July 1 and that, together with the EC, they recognize digital and manual COVID-19 certificates issued by neighboring EU countries . as well as from other third countries. 3. Ensure that COVID-19 controls are not duplicated during travel (integrating departure and arrival processes at airports). 4. Deploy adequate state resources at airports to ensure manual controls and border control processes do not delay travelers.They ask EASA and the European Communicable Disease Control Center (ECDC) to reconsider the physical distancing requirements at airports, based on the evolution of the epidemiological situation and the fact that an increasing proportion of travelers will be completely vaccinated.