On July 8th, 2020 ICAO EUR/NAT Office participated in the international videoconference "Priorities of activities and civil aviation supporting measures during overcoming the pandemic and after it" organized in cooperation with the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC).
The conference was organized within the framework of the ICAO-IAC Project RER/01/901 "Improving Operational Safety and Maintaining Airworthiness for the State-Parties to the International Agreement" with the aim of developing practical proposals for supporting the aviation industries of the State-parties to the Agreement on Civil Aviation and Use of Airspace in overcoming the crisis caused by the pandemic of the coronavirus COVID-19.
The videoconference was a logical continuation of regional efforts in assisting States to recover and restart aviation from crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic.
The leaders of IAC, the Interstate Council, ICAO EUR/NAT Office, representatives of The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Airbus Company, the heads of the aviation administrations of the State-parties to the Agreement, leading specialists of the region's airlines, airports, as well as aviation centers, educational institutions and air navigation services have attended the videoconference.
Subsequent to this meeting, the governments of all State-parties to the Agreement on Civil Aviation and Airspace Use were invited to implement the following mitigation measures:
1. Within the framework of the The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) Organizations, make agreed decisions on the restoration of air traffic between the participating countries no later than October 1, 2020. This measure should allow aviation industry (airlines, airports, ANSPs) to receive additional income, and people to travel between countries. The Interstate Council on Aviation and Airspace Use expressed its readiness to be the moderator for coordination of such efforts.
2. The States consider:
- to develop and adopt coordinated and harmonized sanitary and epidemiological requirements and protection measures,
- to fix the minimum tariffs, before the summer season of 2021, at the level of the corresponding periods of 2019, thus avoiding both dumping and corresponding financial losses, as well as unreasonable overstatement of tariffs with limited supply and demand.
3. Consider the possibility of allocating funds in the form of grant to the aviation industry/sector, including compensation of additional costs for sanitary and epidemiological protection measures. It seems that in the current and future conditions, loans even at low interest rates will place an additional burden on the sector and can only transform current financial problems in future periods.
4. Consider adjournment until April-May 2021 for any payments to the State from aviation industry (airlines, airports, ANSPs) and reduce their amount. This applies to the taxes and social contributions, payments for air navigation services, payments for aircraft, if there is government funding for financing aircraft (financing of state banks).
5. Consider the possibility of air transport subsidies on socially significant routes / increasing their volumes and expanding the list of such routes, provided that the prices remain at the level of 2019.
6. To prevent price dumping and subsequent losses of airlines, especially in the winter period of 2020/2021, consider the possibility, at least for interstate (and possibly for domestic) traffic, to set regulatory lower price limits at a level similar to 2019.
7. Study the possibility of introducing a temporary (until the summer season of 2021) restrictions on the expansion of airlines' fleets (replacing an aircraft with an aircraft is allowed) and opening new operator certificates.
8. Consider the possibility of reimbursing airlines' expenses from the budget for maintaining the necessary qualifications of the "temporarily redundant" flight personnel, as a measure to maintain flight safety, as well as the costs of temporary closing-down and re-establishing redundant aircraft.
9. To study the possibility of fixing all regulated rates and charges for airport and air navigation services at the level of 2019 until the end of 2021, while providing for a mechanism of budget subsidies, if necessary, to airports and air navigation services enterprises.
* The ICAO-IAC Project document «Development of flight safety and continuing airworthiness in contracting states of the International Agreement», RER/01/901 code was signed in Montreal on 19 September 2000. The Project is aimed to ensure development of flight safety and efficiency of aircraft transport operation by establishing Training Advisory Center on flight safety in the IAC headquarters in Moscow. This center is aimed at assistance in training aviation specialists on flight safety and continued airworthiness in contracting states of the Agreement.