Press Releases

ACI World issues guidance on airside safety and operations during COVID-19

Airports advised to implement special measures to maintain safety standards

Montreal, 3 April 2020 – Airports Council International (ACI) World has today issued guidance on best practices as airports adapt their airfield operations in response to the effects and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on a survey of the members of the ACI World Safety and Technical Standing Committee, around half of respondents had experienced a 90% or greater reduction in aircraft movements, and 64% had a 70% or greater reduction.

Even with enormous restrictions on travel, most airports surveyed had not restricted their hours of operation due to COVID-19 but three-quarters of respondents indicated that they have closed some of their airside infrastructure. Most have had to implement special arrangements to park large numbers of grounded aircraft.

This new advisory bulletin provides guidance on accommodating parked aircraft as well as the maintenance of airside infrastructure (runways, taxiways, aprons, stands, piers), the management of airside operations teams, and continuing essential cargo operations.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented disruption of global air transport and has imposed operational challenges to airside infrastructure,” ACI World Director General Angela Gittens said.

“Despite the dramatic decline in passenger traffic, many airports remain open for cargo operations and the continuity of the air cargo business is essential for communities, the global economy at large and, for fighting the ongoing pandemic.

“The health and welfare of travellers, staff and the public, and limiting the spread of communicable diseases, are the priorities for the aviation industry and ‘business as usual’ no longer applies.

“It is imperative for airports to implement necessary measures to ensure best safety practices for airfield operations and this guidance will assist them in this work.”

Notes for editors

  1. Read the full Advisory Bulletin.
  2. ACI World has also issued Advisory Bulletins on the updated Global Economic Impact on the airports sector, Transmission of Communicable Diseases, one on best practice for security screening during the COVID-19 pandemic, and one on challenges for Airport IT.
  3. Stay up to date with ACI World’s COVID-19 communications through its dedicated news hub.
  4. Airports Council International (ACI), the trade association of the world’s airports, was founded in 1991 with the objective of fostering cooperation among its member airports and other partners in world aviation, including the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Air Transport Association and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization. In representing the best interests of airports during key phases of policy development, ACI makes a significant contribution toward ensuring a global air transport system that is safe, secure, customer-centric and environmentally sustainable. As of January 2020, ACI serves 668 members, operating 1979 airports in 176 countries.

Media contacts

Bojana Jeremic
Manager, External Relations and Special Events
ACI World
Telephone: +1 514 373 1254

Sabrina Guerrieri
Manager, Communications
ACI World
Telephone: +1 514 373 1200