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The European Commission calls on EU Member States to support air cargo operations during the coronavirus crisis. The new guidance recommends operational and organisational steps to keep essential transport flows moving, including medical supplies and personnel.

Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean declared: “Air cargo amounts to approximately 35% of world trade by value and is a key part of freight transport. It keeps global supply chains functioning for many of the most high-value materials and it is a critical complement to the transport of freight by land and sea. We are providing concrete measures to keep such services running, including on passenger planes.

Time-sensitive products, such as medicines, need to be flown. The guidelines adopted today have also recommendations on removing or showing flexibility in night curfews or slot restrictions at airports, and also special measures for air cargo personnel.”

The measures include inviting Member States to grant temporary traffic rights for additional cargo operations from outside the EU if restrictions would normally apply, even if these cargo operations are conducted with passenger aircraft. Member States are also advised to temporarily remove night curfews and/or slot restrictions at airports for essential air cargo operations, and to facilitate the use of passenger aircraft for cargo-only operations. Aircrew flying the aircraft should be exempted from travel restrictions if they do not show symptoms.

It is crucial that open airports have sufficient capacity to handle air cargo, and put in place special measures for transport personnel involved in the transport of goods.

These exceptional measures will be temporary for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.

Any restrictions incompatible with Union law must be lifted. The Commission is also calling on all third countries to refrain from unnecessary restrictions on air cargo operations, in particular those incompatible with agreements in place. This is in the common interest of supply chain continuity for goods, including essential ones, such as highly specialised, urgent and critical products such as medical supplies.

 

Source: European Comission

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