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Where do we stand on COVID-19?

COVID-19 today is undoubtedly the most intense issue. I decided to share with you the directions of our work both within the organization and along with our partners.

One key objective of TIACA Management is to keep the membership informed and united, and the second one is to work with the regulatory authorities to support the interest of the air cargo industry. In the first task we use our internal publications, like this one and Friday Flyer to share the latest information.

The second task is achieved through our partnership with ICAO and several other international organizations. TIACA and ICAO have a long-standing practice of collaboration and coordination based on the Declaration signed in 2013. Last week we enrolled in the “Technical group on joint actions related to COVID-19”. The group consists of ICAO, WHO, IATA, ACI, GEA (Global Express Association) and TIACA.

The Group lays groundwork for the unified pitch to governments addressing all the emerging issues. Our role in the Group is to make sure that through ICAO’s machinery the States are reminded that air cargo is a great contributor to the global economy and international trade, and that it plays a very important role in preventing and battling the disastrous effect of the coronavirus. The medical supplies, prevention commodities like masks and disinfection substances, tents, food, spare parts and equipment – all this is transported by air. We also should not forget that most of manufacturing and other enterprises continue working and need deliveries. Air cargo carriers and their partners are here to do the job.

At the meeting on Monday 16 March we brought to ICAO for inclusion in the Group’s deliberations the statement that the industry needs not only the appreciation of these efforts but also full understanding of the conditions under which the air cargo industry functions. The leasing payments for expensive aircraft, salaries, energy supplies, payments to the providers of services and materials – all this requires monetary resources which are not always available in the situation with the reduced and irregular operations.

Through ICAO we draw attention of the States and local authorities to the fundamental role the air cargo industry is playing, and we insist that every effort is to be made to maintain its subsistence and vitality.

Already ICAO together with the Technical group has taken some resolute steps:

  • drafting guidance material on managing outbreaks that occur in aircraft and airport
  • creation of the Website for a single source aviation-specific guidelines on COVID-19
  • preliminary analysis of the economic impact of COVID-19.
  • sending a State letter entitled “State Support to Prevent the Spread of Novel Coronavirus Disease”

It’s worth pointing out that ICAO urged the States to strengthen their preparedness plans for managing risks relating to communicable disease outbreaks by implementing effective collaboration and coordination strategies with all stakeholders.

This is what opens the channel for the air cargo industry to add their voices at the country level and locally.

ICAO is preparing another State Letter which is the main method of communicating with the Civil Aviation Administrations. TIACA is contributing to it. Our main objective is to bring to ICAO’s notice the real problems which are experienced by our members.

We supported appeal of other Group members to exempt air cargo crew members, who do not interact with the public, from 14-day quarantine requirements, we are advocating removing all the restrictions on air cargo operations, especially with the humanitarian and trade objectives, we are requesting reconsideration of the limitations on the unilateral operations to certain airports, bringing them outside of the bilateral and multilateral agreements.

You may be interested in visiting ICAO COVID website. It is available at:

It is directly accessible to any party looking for aviation-specific information on COVID-19 though ICAO. Currently, there are a variety of links to ICAO’s published documentation on COVID-19 as well as the relevant webpages of the UN, WHO, ACI and IATA. We will be adding a link to TIACA webpage.

The purpose of my article is not only to share, but also to ask you, who are working in the field and experience problems first hand to tell us how our partnership with the regulatory authorities and other international organizations can be used to resolve your problems. What specific issues of the air cargo supply chain do we need to bring to ICAO and this Technical group? Your input will help us to prepare our position for the next meeting in ICAO one week from now.

Our ultimate objective is not only to make the industry position and state of affairs known to the Authorities in the world, but to obtain full recognition of the industry’s role and support from the governments for proper functioning of our enterprises.

Vladimir Zubkov