ICAO Keeps Going Around in ‘Covid Passport’ Circle
by NAFISA FEKRANIE | 13 August 2021, 16:03 WIB | THE NEW YORK TIMES | ICAO
The health status of the passenger is essential for the world’s recovery from the pandemic. However, running in the Covid Passport circle will never be the solution to the urgent need for air travel recovery.
Source: Mark Olsen via unsplash.com
By Rick Gladstone
Published Aug 14, 2021
The discussion regarding air travel revival in ICAO was initially expected to be a progressive debate. The council brought up two new motions--cost-cutting measures for airlines and air cargo sustainability--that successfully led to innovative solutions. However, it turned out that the United Kingdom and allies in the council kept insisting on the importance of Covid Passport when it came to the digitalization issue.
Meanwhile, the United States proposed other issues to discuss, including the sustainability of airports. Although the delegate of the United States was also aware of the importance of digitalization towards the revival of airlines, the delegate tends to focus more on a broader perspective instead of merely on the Covid Passport.
Allied with the United States, the Russian Federation also urged the potential of bringing back the Combi Aircraft to the table. They claimed that Combi Aircraft can have a significant impact on the aviation industry revival since it maximizes both passenger seats and cargo at the same time.
Moreover, Russian Federation and allies argued that slot fees regulation is disadvantageous for the airlines during the pandemic since the number of fees is mostly inappropriate. Therefore, the delegate of the Russian Federation believes that slot fees should be discussed further through multilateral collaboration between the airlines and the airports to create a sustainable profitable solution.
In the other bloc, the United Kingdom and allies still insisted that the Covid-19 Passport is required to ensure safety in each country. The delegate of the United Kingdom opined that it is the ultimate key to safely open the border which can increase the opportunity of air travel revival worldwide.
Furthermore, at a press conference, the United Kingdom's delegate stressed that, while the Covid-19 passport could not be a part of the solution in ICAO, the United Kingdom would guarantee that there is another transparent database access to each country's individual and overall pandemic status.