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Air freight is vital lifeline, says IATA chief

[ March 16, 2020   //   ]

Keeping air cargo flowing will save lives during the corona crisis, said IATA director general and chief executive. Alexandre de Juniac.

Since the crisis began, air cargo has been a vital partner in delivering much-needed medicines, medical equipment, and in keeping global supply chains functioning for the most time-sensitive materials through dedicated freighters, cargo capacity in passenger aircraft and relief flights to affected areas.
Air cargo is also instrumental in transporting food and other products purchased online in support of quarantine and social distancing policies implanted by states, he added.
However, the dramatic travel restrictions and collapse of passenger demand have severely limited cargo capacity and IATA is calling on governments to take urgent measures to ensure that air cargo will be available to support the global fight against COVID-19.
Juniac said: “Over 185,000 passenger flights have been cancelled since the end of January in response to government travel restrictions. With this, vital cargo capacity has disappeared when it is most urgently needed in the fight against COVID-19. The world’s fleet of freighter aircraft has been mobilized to make up this capacity shortfall. Governments must take urgent measures to ensure that vital supply lines remain open, efficient and effective.”

He called on governments to exclude air cargo operations from any travel restrictions, ensure that standardized measures are in place so that air cargo can continue to move around the world with minimal disruption and to exempt air cargo crew members, who do not interact with the public, from 14-day quarantine requirements. They should also support temporary traffic rights for cargo operations where restrictions apply and remove economic impediments, such as overfly charges, parking fees, and slot restrictions to support air cargo operations.

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