Thursday, May 21, 2020

German Air Carriers Desperate to Get Back in the Game

Hope for Hoppe as the EU looks to Lift Restrictions
Shipping News Feature

GERMANY – The news that the German Federal Government has been discussing opening further external borders with the rest of the EU has, unsurprisingly, gone down well with the Board of Airline Representatives in Germany (BARIG) which represents the interests of more than 100 national and international airlines in scheduled, charter, low cost and air cargo businesses.

In Wiesbaden the Hessian government has decided to remove routine-based quarantine measures at entry from June 15, the same date that Poland has declared its borders will open, and BARIG, its members suffering huge financial pressures as the pandemic continues, is patently desperate for some return to normality. BARIG Secretary General Michael Hoppe commented:

"We will regain an essential part of quality of life and mobility when travel between closely related countries will be possible again after the long weeks of pandemic restrictions. The flow of goods and the free movement of people are at the core of good international relations between nations and citizens.

”We therefore appreciate steps taken by the Federal Government to take initiatives, also with important partner countries outside the EU, to enable people to travel safely. In addition to many further countries around the world, these include, for instance, Turkey and other countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.”

BARIG says it fully understands that the picture we have of travelling by air has to radically alter at this moment in time. Top priority these days is the health of people. In this context it says, flying is one of the safest modes of transport. Comprehensive hygiene concepts and measures implemented both by airlines and airport operators, including adequate social distancing, the wearing of mouth-nose-protection, and intensified cleaning routines in the aircraft cabins, all contribute to this goal.

One of the criticisms one hears in the street is that illnesses are often transferred aboard aircraft via the recirculating ventilation systems but this BARIG strongly disputes, saying special air conditioning systems in aircraft provide de facto extraordinarily clean air, comparable to the air in hospital operating rooms through vertical airflow, the use of sensitive high-efficiency particulate air filters, and the resulting recirculation of cabin air up to every three minutes meaning almost 100% of all particles, bacteria, and viruses are filtered out.

Hoppe says with these measures in place people should travel once more throughout Europe with confidence, and bilateral arrangements also with countries outside the EU should follow, continuing:

"The foundations for safe flying in terms of health and hygiene have been laid. In addition, agreements between countries may ensure that passengers can rely on certain coordinated health and hygiene standards and therefore start their journey without concerns. The airlines are pleased to be able to carry more passengers again, thus contribute to enhancing the quality of life and mobility."

Whether of course the public at large will take up the opportunities to fly again quite as enthusiastically as BARIG extols the virtues of air travel will of course remain to be seen.