Press Releases

ACI World updates guidance on restart and recovery for airports

New information on COVID-19 testing facilities and vaccine distribution included

Montreal, 16 March 2021 – Airports Council International (ACI) World has today published new guidance for airports to help them prepare for restart and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on their operations.

As the trajectory of recovery has been affected by new variants of COVID-19 and the new restrictions introduced by governments in response, the second edition of ACI World’s Aviation Operations during COVID-19 – Business Restart and Recovery, provides updated best practice examples and guidance for both initial restart and longer-term recovery.

ACI has not only updated its guidance on the practical and efficient health and operational measures that can be introduced to support safe travel, but also included new information on the provision of COVID-19 testing facilities at airports and supporting the distribution of vaccines.

The publication follows the release of new guidance from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to which ACI has provided its input to help ensure global alignment. The ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force has updated its policy recommendations to States, the Take-Off Guidance Document, and the Manual on Cross Border Testing and Risk Management.

“The priority for airports has always been to protect the health and welfare of travelers, staff, and the public as it has navigated the COVID-19 crisis,” ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said.

“While there have been faltering steps towards a restart of air travel, it will be a long haul and our new guidance issued today takes account of this changing situation for airports and will help them to lay the foundation for a long term and sustained recovery.

“ACI has been a contributor to the ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force, and we welcome the publication of its updated guidance along with the new considerations on testing and vaccination which will help to set a global standard for recovery.”

ACI World expects the return to business for the industry to take place in phases:

  • initial restart with limited number of passengers, mainly domestic travel
  • recovery with a slow increase in passenger volume
  • gradual scale-up in capacity, and
  • return to more normal passenger volumes.

“ACI’s World Airport Traffic Forecasts reveal that recovery is likely to be uneven across the world. Markets with significant domestic traffic are not expected to recover to pre-COVID-19 levels before 2023 and markets with a significant share of international traffic will recover much more slowly,” Luis Felipe de Oliveira said.

“Recovery will only be possible, however, if governments can get behind aviation with policy support and assistance to pursue a coordinated and risk-based approach to combining testing and vaccination to promote travel when the epidemiological situation allows.”

The guidance document covers all aspects of airport management and operation. ACI does not to expect airports to use all the options provided, but rather implement measures that might be appropriate according to local circumstances.

Notes for editors

  1. Download the second edition of the ACI Aviation Business Restart and Recovery publication.
  2. Stay up to date with COVID-19 developments on ACI World’s dedicated news hub.
  3. 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 2021, ACI serves 701 members, operating 1933 airports in 183 countries.

Media contacts

Anita Berthier
Director, Communications
ACI World
Telephone: +1 514 373 1254