Lisbon Declaration on the recovery of European aviation

3 May 2021 - On the occasion of the Aviation Day conference organised on 3 May 2021 in Lisbon and virtually, under the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the President of ECAC, Ingrid Cherfils, introduced the Lisbon Declaration on the recovery of European aviation.

Lisbon Declaration on the recovery of the European aviation

Noting the severe impacts of COVID-19, and of regulatory decisions aimed at controlling the spread of the virus on the aviation sector and on the public’s ability to travel;

Recognising that health and the safety of passengers, crew and the general public is the overriding priority;

Emphasising the essential role of aviation in economic and social life, and its ability to contribute to efforts to fight the spread of the virus, including the rapid distribution of vaccines;

Welcoming the many initiatives undertaken and planned by the European Union, the European Civil Aviation Conference, EUROCONTROL and others to mitigate the negative consequences on aviation and to support its recovery, notably through adaptations of the regulatory framework and progress on coordinated efforts to facilitate safe movement of traffic, including the EASA/ECDC COVID-19 Aviation Health Safety Protocol;

Welcoming the work of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Council Aviation Recovery Taskforce, in partnership with other international organisations including the World Health Organization to provide guidance on the restart and recovery of aviation in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic; and

Welcoming the Joint Statement on prioritization of COVID-19 vaccination for seafarers and aircrew by the International Civil Aviation Organization, International Labour Organization, International Maritime Organization, International Organization for Migration and World Health Organization:

The Representatives of the European Union, its Member States1 and the other Member States of the European Civil Aviation Conference2 declare that:

  • There is an urgent need to be forward looking and prepare an orderly return to travel as soon as possible, consistent with the health imperatives;
  • The summer period and the progress of vaccination campaigns provides an opportunity for the travel and tourism sectors to restart, bringing economic and social benefits to all European countries and their citizens, as well as supporting the sustainable development of these by now very impacted sectors, while protecting public health;
  • Aviation needs as much certainty as is feasible to plan a resumption of a sustainable scale of operations, and thus it needs to be made as clear as is feasible what restrictions are still expected to remain during the summer, based on the evolution of the pandemic;
  • Such restrictions should be sensitive to the scale of their impacts on travel and rely on a risk-based assessment of the latest scientific evidence, taking into consideration the effect of vaccines on transmission and their efficacy against new variants;
  • While vaccination should not be a precondition for travel, the application of measures affecting travel should include consideration to determine how vaccination, in conjunction with other layered measures, could be reflected in progressive alleviations to travel restrictions, including notably quarantine and the suspension of traffic rights as a major impediment to travel; a coordinated approach across Europe is essential;
  • Ahead of the wider availability of vaccinations, all other approaches to enable safe travel should be considered; including approaches to testing and border measures that are predictable and understandable for passengers, including an update of the COVID-19 Aviation Health Safety Protocol;
  • Where travel measures are maintained, the aviation stakeholders should to the maximum extent feasible be engaged in the definition and implementation of these measures to integrate them efficiently into the travel process; and
  • In the meantime rapid progress is essential on the development of an interoperable international framework for the recognition and acceptance of COVID testing, recovery and vaccine information, including in electronic form such as the EU Digital Green Certificate initiative.

1Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
2Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Monaco, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Republic of Moldova, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, Türkiye, Ukraine and United Kingdom.