CAPSCA EUR O8 meeting: Lessons learned on collaboration

Paris, 12 November 2020 – The ICAO European and North Atlantic Office (EUR/NAT) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) jointly held the Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events (CAPSCA) European 08 virtual meeting on COVID-19 Lessons learned on 11 and 12 November 2020. The Meeting discussed an extensive array of topics that Public Health and Civil Aviation authorities, alongside with industry stakeholders, have accumulated as lessons learned from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  The conclusions included specific positive outcomes on collaboration and partnerships, on bringing closer and the creation of new networks between Health and Aviation authorities and on the important role CAPSCA has undertaken as the central platform for exchanges to happen, harmonization of standards and guidance being developed and delivered for the benefit of States, industry and the travelling public.


With the participation of Ms. Silvia Gehrer, Regional Director ICAO EUR/NAT, Luc Tytgat, Strategy & Safety Management Director from EASA (via a pre-recorded video, link below) and Dr. Med. Cristian Ionuț Panait, Medical Expert, Aircrew & Medical Department, EASA, the meeting opened and set the scene on the relevance and pivotal role of CAPSCA during this pandemic and on the strong collaboration between ICAO EUR/NAT and EASA. "This partnership had flourished prior to the COVID-19 urgency and continues to grow, said Dr. Cristian Ionuț Panait.  From her side, Ms. Gehrer said: "The mechanisms imposed on us to work and provide our assistance in our region through a new virtual reality, have proved effective. They have allowed efficient means of communications during crisis and an invaluable pooling and sharing of the expertise and resources between us all. This is a unique meeting during unique times", empathized Ms. Gehrer.


The Sessions on Day 1 focused on presentations made by twelve (12) EUR/NAT States which shared their lessons learned and challenges faced in their fight with the COVID-19 pandemic. Many recurring key words and topics came throughout the presentations as well on Day 2, in a consistent manner: the need to harmonize both the development and implementation efforts through increased collaboration between the Public Health and the Civil Aviation Sector; the need of increased implementation activities in support of the States, including a global and regional implementation strategy; the value of the  establishment and/or efficient operation of National Committees where all relevant government departments and industry stakeholders work together to find agreed solutions for implementation; the lack of sufficient human and financial resources, the need for new legal frameworks at national level, the difficulties that variations on acceptable levels of risk for each State impose on a global approach, and the inconsistencies of Passenger Locator Forms and the need for standardization and digitization for effective Track & Trace programs and monitoring activities on passengers.


During the Sessions on Day 2, Dr. Ansa Jordaan, ICAO Chief of Aviation Medicine, also provided an update on what CAPSCA has been developing and delivering for the CART and Take Off guidelines, including the establishment of Public Health Corridors, iPacks, PHC application and on identifying missing tools for Digital Certification/travel documents for Health and Vaccination. The Chair of CAPSCA EUR, Mr. Johan Skjäl, Chief Advisor, Safety Management for the Finnish Transport Safety Agency, gave a summary of the last years' accomplishments and shared many interesting and provocative proposals to be assessed and potentially taken on board by CAPSCA EUR in the next years of his mandate. Thirteen (13) presentations from International Organizations provided the participants with the latest updates and insights of the regulatory work and the ongoing implementation initiatives including accreditation programmes, electronic travel documents, testing challenges and other topics.


A total of one hundred and thirty-one (131) participants, forty-two (42) States and twenty-two (22) international and regional organisations including WHO, EASA, EUROCONTROL, ECDC, ECAC, JAATO, EURAMI, EU Healthy Airways, IATA, ACI and IAC attended this CAPSCA 08 virtual meeting.


In follow-up, EASA reiterated their invitation to host the next physical CAPSCA EUR 09 at their premises at Cologne during the third quarter of 2021.


Video Mr. Luc Tytgat, Strategy & Safety Management Director from EASA

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