COVID-19 discussions in the European coordination meetings continue in the New Year

15 and 22 January 2021 - ECAC continues to organise European coordination meetings in 2021 with two meetings taking place in January, providing a platform for Directors General of ECAC Member States, DG MOVE, EASA and EUROCONTROL to discuss the recent developments surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on traffic.

The January meetings heard updates on the traffic situation, noting a further deterioration, with traffic almost completely coming to a halt after a marginal pick-up over the holiday season. These developments were fuelled by the new travel restrictions and requirements introduced by many States at the end of 2020/early January 2021 to protect public health and manage the worsening pandemic situation in many regions.

The participants shared information on testing and quarantine measures and the use of Public Health Corridors (PHC), and provided updates on the roll-out of national vaccination programmes. They emphasised the usefulness of continuing to have these transparent exchanges on the current travel conditions.

The European Commission and EASA provided information on the Council of the European Union's position on vaccination programmes and on the protocols on testing strategies jointly produced with ECDC. The ECAC Secretariat briefed the meeting on currently applicable flight bans in Europe and on the survey on economic relief measures implemented in Member States in support of the industry.

Progress made in the ICAO CART, which had entered its third phase and was expected to deliver updated guidance and recommendations by mid-March, and the European priorities, were also discussed. Much of the CART's work will focus on acceptance and validation of testing and vaccination certificates and their implications for passengers.

The participants repeatedly underlined the critical importance of better coordination and harmonisation of measures to tackle this crisis and to support the aviation sector. They stressed that essential travel and essential workers, including transport workers such as crew members, must be facilitated to ensure the flow of goods.