The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council on Monday (June 1, 2020) adopted a new report and recommendations aimed at restarting the international air transport system and aligning its global recovery.
The COVID-19 report and guidelines were produced by the Council’s Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART). They were developed through broad-based consultations with countries and regional organizations, and with important advice from the World Health Organization and key aviation industry groups including the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Airports Council International (ACI World), the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), and the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations (ICCAIA).
“The world looked to the ICAO Council to provide the high-level guidance which governments and industry needed to begin restarting international air transport and recovering from COVID-19,” underscored ICAO Council President Mr. Salvatore Sciacchitano.
“We have answered this call today with the delivery of this report, and with its recommendations and Take-Off guidelines which will now align public and private sector actions and mitigations as we get the world flying again, in full accordance with the latest and most prudent medical and traveller health advice available to us.”
Takeoff proposes a phased approach to restarting aviation and identifies a set of generally applicable risk-based measures. In line with recommendations and guidance from public health authorities, these will mitigate the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus during the travel process.
These measures include:
- Physical distancing to the extent feasible and implementation of “adequate risk-based measures where distancing is not feasible, for example in aircraft cabins”;
- Wearing of face coverings and masks by passengers and aviation workers;
- Routine sanitation and disinfection of all areas with potential for human contact and transmission;
- Health screening, which could include pre- and post-flight self-declarations, as well as temperature screening and visual observation, “conducted by health professionals”;
- Contact tracing for passengers and aviation employees: updated contact information should be requested as part of the health self-declaration, and interaction between passengers and governments should be made directly though government portals;
- Passenger health declaration forms, including self-declarations in line with the recommendations of relevant health authorities. Electronic tools should be encouraged to avoid paper;
- Testing: if and when real-time, rapid and reliable testing becomes available.
“The world needs aviation and aviation today is in great need of ICAO,” Council President Sciacchitano emphasized. “Global cooperation through this organization has helped countries to connect the world to their mutual benefit for over 75 years, and now it’s helping us to reconnect it. Solidarity among all countries and regions and industry sectors will be critical going forward, and ICAO is where we achieve that for global aviation.”
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is urging governments to quickly implement the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO’s) global guidelines for restoring air connectivity.