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ACI World: Policy Responses for the Hard-Hit Airport Industry Should Not Benefit One Actor at the Expense of Another One24/03/2020

On March 18, Airports Council International (ACI) World Director General Angela Gittens published a statement entitled Economic Policy Responses to the Global Health Crisis. She noted that the global aviation industry is heavily impacted by COVID-19 pandemic and that airports “have significant costs to bear, debts and other obligations to fulfill, and services to deliver even during a time of crisis”, with the losses of the airport industry expected to reach at least $20 and $25 billion (in US Dollars) in 2020. She indicated that “the financial shortfall will be significant and unlike anything we have ever seen for businesses involved in the aviation ecosystem...Many businesses, large and small and involved in airport businesses or not, could go bankrupt.”

Gittens stressed that airports are “important engines of economic growth, wealth creation and employment” and that governments and financial institutions shall ensure their economic relief measures are fair and reasonable and shall not “benefit one actor at the expense of another one”. ACI World recommends the following policy measures in order to alleviate the shortfall for airports: protection of airport revenues, alleviation of airport slots usage requirements, waiving of concession fee payments to governments, tax relief for the aviation sector and provision of government assistance. Gittens pointed out that the above recommendations are “targeted towards ensuring continuity and sustainability of airport operations in these exceptional circumstances”. She also said “aviation is characterized by its resilience and will bounce back despite this unprecedented decline” and that “both the industry and Governments should strategically approach the prospective recovery pragmatically and in partnership”. “We have seen a level of containment of the outbreak in mainland China and the same will occur in other countries if adequate measures are implemented per the recommendations of public health authorities, including the WHO,” remarked Gittens.