New and Updated Guidance

The updated TOGD provides States with a risk management approach and up-to-date guidance to protect air passengers and aviation workers from COVID-19. New or updated guidance addresses, inter alia, general hygiene, face coverings and medical masks, health screening and declarations, air passengers with reduced mobility, testing, as well as mental health and well-being of both aviation workers and passengers. In addition to the existing Modules on airport, aircraft, crew and cargo, references were included to introduce new risk mitigation measures applicable to other aviation sectors, including air traffic services, business aviation operations and general aviation. 


Aviation safety-related measures. As States work to restart air travel, a large proportion of the global fleet, air crew, airport operations staff, and air traffic controllers that have been inactive for prolonged periods will need to be reactivated and retrained, where appropriate. To ensure a safe restart, States should take the necessary steps to mitigate the safety risks associated with such reactivation. 


States that have filed differences for temporary departures from ICAO Standards under the COVID-19 Contingency Related Differences (CCRD), or that have granted other COVID-19-related regulatory alleviation, are reminded that these differences and alleviations were intended to be temporary in nature. Prolonged differences and alleviations, such as those related to personnel certification and licensing, could result in an elevated operational safety risk. States should, therefore, put in place the necessary measures to manage those risks and should not extend alleviations (both core and extended CCRDs) beyond 31 March 2021, unless circumstances dictate otherwise. States are encouraged to facilitate access to medical and training facilities, including flight simulation training devices used for flight crew (national and foreign) to maintain their certifications, recency of experience and proficiency. 


States also are strongly encouraged to refer their operators to the ICAO Operational Safety Measures website where links to guidance documents developed by ICAO, ACI, IATA, ICCAIA and others are available to ensure that necessary measures are taken so that flight operations resume in a safe and orderly manner. 


Recommendation 12 

States should put in place the necessary measures to mitigate risks associated with prolonged regulatory alleviations and should not extend alleviations (both core and extended CCRDs) beyond 31 March 2021, unless circumstances dictate otherwise. In addition, States are encouraged to facilitate access to medical and training facilities, including flight simulation training devices used for flight crew (national and foreign) to maintain their certifications, recency of experience and proficiency. 


Testing and cross border risk management measures. The first edition of the TOGD noted that rapid COVID-19 tests available at the time were not recommended due to limitations of testing technology, test performance and operational challenges. Since then, testing technology continues to improve rapidly. In addition, health authorities have gained a greater understanding of how the COVID-19 virus is transmitted and how the effective use of certain tests might contribute to reducing the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission. Furthermore, it was recognized that introducing testing could — if properly implemented in States that assess it as appropriate for their situation — reduce reliance on measures, such as quarantine, that impact on demand for air travel or restrict the movement of persons arriving in a country, which evidence suggests is a disincentive to several important categories of travel. 


While testing is not universally recommended by public health authorities, it has been implemented by some States as a routine health screening method for air travellers. CART, therefore, tasked the Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation (CAPSCA) to study available testing methods and advise CART on what factors States could consider regarding testing, as well as guidance on how to implement testing as part of an overall risk management strategy should they wish to do so. As a result, it is recommended that States contemplating testing should apply the approach outlined in the ICAO Testing and Cross-Border Risk Management Measures Manual. A reference and a link to this Manual is included in section 1.2 of the Appendix to the updated TOGD. If doing so, States are also encouraged to consider affordable testing means to minimize travel costs for passengers, considering the International Health Regulations (IHR). 


This Manual provides assessment tools that States can use to evaluate and implement testing and related mitigation measures as part of their decision-making process, as well as a guideline on how to assess different mitigation strategies and on how these can contribute to public health risk management. To support States in developing a risk management framework that is adapted to sovereign considerations and integrates with existing national frameworks, CAPSCA also developed a generic decision-making tool (Attachment A to the Manual). The tool can be used to determine the inherent and residual risk level of transporting potentially infectious passengers. 


Each State will need to conduct its own risk assessment and is encouraged to use the processes outlined in the Manual as the basis for its assessment. Risk tolerance varies between States and depends on many factors, including public health capacity. This has an influence on the amount of residual risk a State can accept. The determination of such level, as well as the policies and measures to mitigate the risk, is not universal and is within specific priorities and authority of each individual State. 


The Manual has been developed using the most recent information available. The urgency, rapid development, and observed consequences of the current scenario require an expedited approach to modifying the Manual. Consequently, regular updates to the guidance will be required as the situation evolves, technology advances and more evidence and data become available. 


Recommendation 13 

While testing is not universally recommended by public health authorities as a routine health screening method, States contemplating testing in their COVID-19 risk management strategy should apply the approach outlined in the ICAO Testing and Cross-Border Risk Management Measures Manual. 


Public Health Corridors (PHCs). When considering the guidance contained in the updated TOGD and the ICAO Testing and Cross-Border Risk Management Measures Manual, States are strongly encouraged to collaborate with each other regarding PHC implementation. A PHC is formed when two or more States agree to recognize the public health mitigation measures each has implemented on one or more routes between their States. To enable such mutual recognition, States are strongly encouraged to actively share information with other States and enter into bilateral or multilateral discussions with each other to implement PHCs in a harmonized manner. To facilitate implementation of PHCs, the ICAO Implementation Package (iPack) on establishing a PHC is available to States. 


Recommendation 14 

States considering the formation of a PHC should actively share information with each other to implement PHCs in a harmonized manner. To facilitate implementation of PHCs, the iPack on establishing a PHC is available to States.

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