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COVID-19 Air Travel: NZALPA Supports ICAO Universal Recommendations

03 June 2020

The New Zealand Air Line Pilots’ Association (NZALPA) today recommended that New Zealand adopts the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) universal measures to help combat transmission of COVID-19 on aircraft. 

“We will be addressing it with the Government, airlines, industry and with our aviation colleagues in progressing the Trans-Tasman Safe Travel Zone between New Zealand and Australia,” said NZALPA President Captain Andrew Ridling

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, ICAO, to which New Zealand is a founding member and NZALPA is actively involved in its recommendations, has released its universal report designed to restart the international air transport system and safely align all industry in the global recovery.

“We need measures that our passengers and crew have confidence in, so that they can travel safely again both domestically and internationally. There are a number of end-to-end measures that include the use of antibacterial and sanitation onboard, recommending face coverings, as well as the testing, heath screening and tracing at the departure port. 

“We now have a clear set of universal measures, endorsed by international medical professionals that will be consistent across all international destinations.  As a United Nations pioneer, New Zealand was one of the first signatures on the ICAO’s Chicago Convention that developed a consistent and international approach to aviation. 

“We’re all interconnected and must play our part. This also includes consistency across our domestic and trans-Tasman airline flights. Although the risk of transmission on board aircraft is extremely low, we’re still awaiting a vaccine against COVID-19 so must continue to put the health of our crew and the travelling public first.

“These measures will also help avoid dramatic cost increases to air travel, prevent seats going empty and help cushion COVID-19’s blow to the industry, jobs and our economy,” Captain Ridling said. 

Media contact for interviews and further information:  Lisa-Marie Richan 027 278 0441

See “ICAO Council adopts new COVID-19 aviation recovery ‘Take Off’ guidelines to reconnect the world” at https://www.icao.int/Newsroom/Pages/ICAO-Council-adopts-new-COVID.aspx

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