Air traffic and health protection in times of pandemic

“It cannot be accepted that even in this situation the financial interests of the aviation industry are put above the health interests of the general public, as has been the case for decades with aircraft noise and air pollution!” said Carl Ahlgrimm, president of the federal association against aircraft noise.

In the summer of 2020, the chairman of the Robert Koch Institute, Prof. Dr. Lothar H. Wieler unequivocally pointed out that mobility is one of the decisive drivers of the pandemic development. We all remember the first news of the Covid19 sickness outbreak among Webasto employees after a Chinese colleague attended a corporate event in Bavaria, as well as the Corona hotspots in the Austrian winter sports resort of Ischgl and the carnival event in Heinsberg in North Rhine-Westphalia.

In recent months, a number of mutants of the Covid19 virus have been detected, which are significantly more contagious and dangerous in terms of disease progression than the original variant. These mutants apparently originated in the most diverse regions of our planet and yet they are spreading rapidly around the world.

It does not take much imagination to conclude that air traffic in particular has a decisive responsibility for this worldwide spread. In air travel, pathogens can and will be transported thousands of miles in a matter of hours – often unnoticed. All of this is happening at a stage where population vaccination appears to be ‘in its infancy’ as a result of the New Year’s vaccinations, at least in Germany.

From the point of view of the Federal Association against Aircraft Noise, the recent activities of the traffic economy and tour operators to offer tourist air travel to destinations for which no travel warning (any more) exists due to the low incidents, to a large extent, is irresponsible. We agree with the federal government’s call to completely refrain from travel – especially air travel – that is not absolutely necessary for the time being. If such journeys are nevertheless carried out, appropriate quarantine measures should be put in place upon return, compliance with which should be monitored for the protection of the general public.

Original text in German