Emerging and Cross-cutting Aviation Issues — Public health safety and related facilitation measures

Public health safety and related facilitation measures


In 2021, entities under the ICAO Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation (CAPSCA) conducted two reviews and updates of the Manual on COVID-19 Cross-border Risk Management (Doc 10152), the latest (third) edition of which was published in October 2021. The COVID-19 Aviation Scientific Advisory Group (CASAG), a sub-group of CAPSCA, published three scientific reports on COVID-19, addressing the duration of immunity following SARS-CoV-2 infection (July 2021), vaccination and its effect on the onward transmission of SARS-CoV-2, and the knowns and unknowns of the Delta variant and recommendations (December 2021).


ICAO supported the dissemination of guidance material through webinars, regional CAPSCA meetings and the publication of information on the ICAO CAPSCA website. As a follow-up to its survey on COVID-19 testing and cross-border risk management measures in January 2021 (circulated in State letter AN 5/28-21/8), ICAO launched an iPack on establishing public health corridors in July 2021. This iPack enables States to mutually recognize their respective public health risk mitigation measures and establish temporary and exceptional arrangements to allow the resumption of air travel between international destinations. CAPSCA entities and industry stakeholders supported the development of a workshop for the iPack, coordinated by the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC).


ICAO further supported implementation initiatives including the ACI Airport Health Accreditation programme, the IATA Health Safety Standards Checklist for Airline Operators, and the ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) guidance assurance programme of the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority.


Guidance from CART, CAPSCA and the High-level Conference on COVID-19 has stressed the importance that States conduct comprehensive risk assessments that result in appropriate measures to safeguard the health of travellers, aviation workers and the general public while enabling aviation operations to continue. Such assessments should consider States’ contextual factors, risk tolerance and the practical application of public health risk mitigation measures in aviation. The assessments therefore require a broad consideration of data, capabilities and insights from diverse stakeholders.


National Air Transport Facilitation Committees or similar bodies should provide the necessary framework for such collaboration. However, many stakeholders have noted a lack in the necessary collaboration between public health and aviation authorities and other stakeholders in some cases. Therefore, ICAO has developed an iPACK on strengthening national Air Transportation Facilitation Committees, which was deployed 15 times in 2021 and has helped to build States’ capacities to adhere to Standard 8.19 in Annex 9 — Facilitation and to act on State letter EC 6/3 – 20/46 dated 18 March 2020. In 2021, 19 States updated their data in the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Implementation Centre (CRRIC), indicating progress in the implementation of such Committees. However, these data indicate that only 73 per cent of States have such bodies in place almost two years into the pandemic, indicating that this cross-cutting issue remains in focus.

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