Count aviation staff as vital in vaccine roll-out plans: Iata

Dubai - Iata said it does not take a position on whether vaccines should be mandatory for flight crew, maintaining that “is a matter for states to decide.”



by

Issac John

Published: Wed 16 Dec 2020, 7:24 PM

Last updated: Wed 16 Dec 2020, 7:25 PM

The International Air Transport Association (Iata) renewed its call on governments to ensure that employees in the aviation sector are considered as essential workers during the impending Covid-19 vaccine campaign, once health care workers and vulnerable groups have been protected.

“We are not asking for aviation workers to be on top of the list, but we need governments to ensure that transportation workers are considered as essential when vaccine roll-out plans are developed,” the global airlines body said in a unanimously adopted resolution adopted at its annual general meeting.

“We are not asking for aviation workers to be on top of the list, but we need governments to ensure that transportation workers are considered as essential when vaccine roll-out plans are developed,” it said.

“The transportation of the Covid-19 vaccines has already begun, and as calculations show, it will require the equivalent of 8,000 Boeing 747 freighter aircraft for global distribution. It is therefore essential that we have the qualified workforce in place to ensure a functioning logistics chain,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Iata’s director general and CEO.

Last week, in a joint statement with the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations, Iata had urged governments to follow the International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao) Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (Cart) guidelines on exempting crew from testing.

The measures employed by some states contravene the recommended Icao guidelines, Gilberto Lopez Meyer, Iata’s senior vice president, Safety and Flight Operations, has said.

“Airlines are willing to invest in safety that delivers meaningful outcomes, but that is not the case with unilateral, uncoordinated testing requirements,” he said.

Iata said it does not take a position on whether vaccines should be mandatory for flight crew, maintaining that “is a matter for states to decide.”

The AGM also reiterated the vital role of air transport in facilitating the global response to the pandemic, including the timely distribution of medicines, testing kits, protective equipment and eventually vaccines around the world

Iata’s call on Wednesday is aligned with the proposed “Roadmap for prioritising uses of Covid-19 vaccines” by the World Health Organisation’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (Sage). This recommends priority populations for vaccination based on the respective epidemiologic situation and vaccine supply scenarios. Within this framework, Sage has included transportation workers alongside other essential sectors outside health and education sectors including police, for example.

issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com


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