The Vaccine is Here… Now What?

By Muhammad Humam
28th March, 2021

With the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine, the aviation industry finds itself on relatively stable ground compared to the beginning of the pandemic. However, the introduction and effectiveness of the vaccine does not directly spell true and meaningful recovery unless there are steps taken to ensure that the benefits of the vaccination programme translate into such recovery for aviation stakeholders. Alexa Raimondi and Jack Applebaum of Deloitte discuss these needed steps in an article in Passenger Terminal Today:

Tools for the recording of vaccination status: As a part of Covid-19 prevention strategies, many governments and aviation bodies had already implemented digital applications to track Covid-19 testing and spread. These apps can be repurposed and then equipped with the additional functionality to record vaccination status. Raimondi and Applebaum predict that, as different stakeholders might eventually come up with their own methods to track status, relevant aviation personnel will need to be trained to understand and work with many different apps/documents.

Standardized policies: With governments and stakeholders working across a range of the Covid-proactivity spectrum, there is much room for misunderstanding and confusion with regard to the procedures employees/passengers need to undertake in order to navigate aviation across borders/institutions. To prevent this, Raimondi and Applebaum suggest that it would be useful for aviation stakeholders to agree on a uniform set of protocols and effectively communicate them to passengers, helping clarify the vaccination requirements to travel and work across aviation. IATA has also recommended to the European Commission that a uniform method of Covid-19 certification be established to help passengers freely travel across European territories.

Communication: The importance of communication & education within the equation of aviation’s recovery from Covid-19 cannot be underestimated. As per the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly 30% of surveyed Americans reported that they would “wait until it [the vaccine] has been available for a while to see how it is working for other people”. Without effective communication of the benefits and effectiveness of the vaccine (by stakeholders in aviation and the government), based on Applebaum and Raimondi’s argument, there would not be trust within the general public regarding vaccine adoption, thus laying waste to the efforts of the medical community towards the creation of a vaccine.

The introduction of the Covid-19 vaccine is thus, by itself, not enough to result in the recovery of aviation. The steps highlighted in this blog post need to be undertaken as quickly as possible to result in aiding this recovery. Not just that, these steps need to be supplemented with other measures to increase the speed and effectiveness of this recovery. One such measure could involve the implementation of an A-CDM platform (like EMMA) which airports can use to help drive growth in efficiency, thus reducing losses and paving the way towards quicker financial recovery for stakeholders.