Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), the trade association representing commercial service airports in the United States and Canada, is urging the U.S. government to adopt guidelines for the use of facial coverings by all individuals in the public areas of passenger airport terminals.
ACI-NA is taking this position due to the extraordinary nature of the current COVID-19 pandemic, and in order to provide for the health and safety of passengers and airport employees, to instill confidence in those who work or travel through America’s airports. Absent federal guidelines, ACI-NA supports state and local guidelines that all individuals in the public areas of passenger airport terminals wear facial coverings over their nose and mouth during the COVID-19 pandemic.
ACI-NA member airports also want to ensure that any passenger health screenings are backed by medical evidence and national standards, performed by federal government officials, and minimize the impact on airport operations.
“North American airports are steadfastly committed to measures that provide for the health and safety of the traveling public and airport employees,” said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “That’s why we are urging the federal government to issue formal guidelines for the use of facial coverings in passenger terminals. This will help to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and re-instill confidence of those who work in or travel through America’s airports.”
Requiring facial coverings is consistent with guidance provided by public health officials in both Canada in the United States.
ACI-NA has convened an Airport Industry Recovery Advisory Panel to assess the operational needs of airports, as well as considerations to ensure passenger safety and limit the spread of COVID-19. This panel will help guide discussions about how the aviation industry can increase flight capacity as air travelers return.
North American airports responded quickly to COVID-19 by establishing enhanced health and sanitation protocols that include much more frequent cleaning, with an intense focus on “touch points” in public areas and restrooms, more and upgraded cleaning supplies, extra shifts and staffing, additional hand sanitizers in airport public areas for passengers and employees, and additional education and training for airport employees and contractors. Many of the practices will remain in place for the foreseeable future.