The Duty Free World Council (DFWC) says the publication of an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Task Force report marks an ‘extremely positive’ development towards recommencing commercial air travel and duty free operations.
ICAO published its broad-reaching report on 1 June in which it laid out recommendations around public health and safety to spur on air transport’s recovery.
DFWC President Sarah Branquinho praised ICAO’s recognition that passengers should be able to access duty free and the acknowledgment that retail operators form an essential part of airport infrastructure.
The Council expressed its gratitude for being able to contribute ‘substantially’ to the policy process of ICAO’s Council Aviation Recovery Taskforce (CART) report, adding that both organisations have been engaging constructively to develop a pragmatic set of guidelines.
COUNTRIES TO DEFINE RULES FOR RESTART
“Our stores should open when people start to travel and these guidelines will allow that to happen,” said Branquinho. “In many countries this will ensure a rethink from safety regulators who have not been allowing the re-opening of ‘non-essential’ retail facilities.
“DFWC would also like to acknowledge ACI World who worked with us to make the case on behalf of travel retail operators around the world. Our retailers will provide significant cashflow to our airport partners as the sector restarts, so it is vitally important that we get up and running as soon as is practicable and viable.
“It is now up to individual countries to define their own safety rules and regulations for the restart. These ICAO guidelines are critical to that.
“We urge retailers to bring these guidelines to the attention of their airport partners and national aviation safety regulators.”
APTRA UPS ADVOCACY EFFORTS
APTRA says the report paves the way for DF&TR to plan the ‘tentative recovery’ of airport operations.
Sunil Tuli, President of APTRA, said: “Since the outbreak of Covid-19, APTRA has accelerated its advocacy work, this time campaigning with ICAO representatives in Asia Pacific as part of a wider campaign to 26 governments across the region.”
APTRA has made the case for DF&TR’s vital contribution to the incomes and employment of airports.
Among the measures recommended include protecting colleagues via personal protective equipment, training, prioritising contactless payments, enhancing in-store hygiene procedures, promoting clear signage, maintaining efficient passenger flows and encouraging shorter dwell times.
“We wrote to Fang Liu, ICAO Council Secretary General, explaining the essential role our industry plays in the aviation ecosystem asking for ICAO recognition of the unique dynamics of our industry and in considering measures to enable a level of recovery. We welcome the positive indications in these guidelines for the resumption of airport commercial operations in airports.”
ICAO Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano added: “The world looked to the ICAO Council to provide the high-level guidance which governments and industry needed to begin restarting international air transport and recovering from Covid-19.
“We have answered this call with the delivery of this report, and with its recommendations and ‘Take-Off’ guidelines which will now align public and private sector actions and mitigations as we get the world flying again, in full accordance with the latest and most prudent medical and traveller health advice available to us.”