These public health risk mitigation measures are divided into four sections.
The first section contains generally applicable risk mitigation measures that apply in all phases of air passenger and cargo transport.
The second section describes modules, attached to this appendix, that are specific to various aspects of commercial air transport.
The third section provides links to material, developed by industry organizations, to assist other aviation sectors.
The fourth section describes Public Health Corridors as one collaborative implementation strategy for States to minimise the transmission of COVID-19 by aviation.
In the implementation of these measures, care should be taken to follow all applicable laws, regulations, requirements, standards and guidance issued by relevant sub-national, national and international authorities. Nothing in these guidelines is intended to supersede or contradict such requirements. States should ensure their policies and measures are coordinated across all relevant sectors.
States and stakeholders must work together to distribute accurate information quickly. Information must be as clear, simple and consistent as possible across the entire passenger travel experience.
Hand hygiene (washing hands with soap and water or, where this is not available, using alcohol-based hand-sanitising solution), respiratory etiquette (covering the mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing) and limiting direct contact with any surfaces at the airport and in the aircraft to only when absolutely necessary should be observed at all times unless otherwise advised by airport staff or aircrew members.
To the extent feasible, people should be able to maintain social distancing consistent with World Health Organization (WHO) or applicable State health guidelines. Where this distancing is not feasible (for example in aircraft cabins), adequate risk-based measures should be used including allowing limited baggage in the cabin, orderly boarding processes, disembarkation announcements and procedures, and limiting unnecessary movement of passengers and cabin crew on board.
Face Coverings and Medical Masks:
Face coverings and medical masks should be worn consistent with the applicable public health guidelines, including whom to exempt (e.g. young children or passengers that cannot tolerate a face covering or medical mask such as individuals with physical disabilities, respiratory or other conditions). Always follow best practice about when and how to wear, remove, replace, and dispose of face coverings and medical masks in addition to proper hand hygiene following removal. Face coverings should be two or more layers and fully cover the nose and mouth. The face covering or medical mask should be worn during all phases of flight except while eating. It should be replaced when it is no longer functional (e.g. becomes wet). Medical masks should be prioritized for use as personal protective equipment by healthcare workers, passengers at high risk of developing complications due to COVID-19, and symptomatic persons suspected of being infected with COVID-19. Face coverings and medical masks with exhalation valves can transmit the virus and should not be used. Refer to WHO and the attached posters for more guidance.
High touch surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected as prescribed by public health authorities with frequency based on operational risk assessment.
States should ensure that health screening, at exit or entry, is conducted in accordance with the protocols of the relevant health authorities. Screening could consist of pre-flight and post-flight health declarations, non-invasive temperature measurement and/or visual observation conducted by employees trained to recognise signs suggestive of COVID-19 and in the use of these measures. Such screenings could identify ill persons that may require additional examination prior to working or flying. The availability of such information and insights can be leveraged in a risk-based approach, which will further contribute to reassure the travelling public. This screening may be conducted upon entry and/or exit. Temperature and other symptom-based screening could be a part of a multi-layered approach but should not be relied on as a stand-alone mitigation measure as it has limited effectiveness, in detecting COVID-19 cases. The virus can be associated with mild symptoms or asymptomatic infections and is transmitted from both pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic individuals.
If a person shows signs and symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, or their declaration form shows a history of respiratory infection or/and exposure to high-risk contacts, appropriate follow up would be necessary, including a focused health assessment performed by healthcare personnel either in a dedicated interview space at an airport, or in an offsite pre-identified health care facility.
Health Monitoring and Contact Tracing:
Methods for the collection of passenger and employee contact information valid for the destination should be in place, including through web applications. Such information is critical for health observation of incoming travellers, and would also be used to support public health authorities in contact tracing should this be warranted following the identification of a COVID-19 case. Updated contact information should be requested as part of the above mentioned declaration. Public Health Passenger Locator Form (PLF) should be distributed during flight and collected afterwards and handed over to relevant health authorities.
Where feasible and justified, health declaration forms or health attestations for COVID-19 should be used for all passengers, in line with the recommendations of relevant health authorities. Self-declarations in electronic format prior to airport arrival should also be encouraged to avoid crowding at airports. Refer to Public health corridor (PHC) Form 4.
Passengers with reduced mobility:
The specific needs of passengers with reduced mobility should be considered when implementing these measures in order not to unnecessarily limit their access to air travel.
Risk management (including testing):
A range of different and varied mitigation measures are available to States to manage the risks posed to their populations and economies by COVID-19. States should assess their risks and determine mitigation measures appropriate to their situation. As new COVID-19 tests are developed and matured, and as testing capacity and availability improve, States may consider incorporating testing as part of an overall risk management strategy. While testing is not universally recommended by public health authorities, it has been implemented by some States as a routine health screening method for international travellers. ICAO has published a Testing and Cross-Border Risk Management Measures Manual to help States assess and develop their overall risk management strategy, including the possible use of testing. The Manual will be regularly updated to reflect medical advances and increased understanding of the disease.
Promoting, maintaining and supporting mental well-being:
COVID-19 and its associated restrictions has had a significant impact on the mental health and well-being of both passengers and aviation workers, which could impact operational safety. To provide for a psycho-socially safe and supportive aviation environment, multi-sector multi-stakeholder collaboration is necessary to support mental well-being of aviation workers, and to assist passengers in their preparations for travel. Principles and guidance material to support mental well-being may be found on the Promoting, Maintaining and Supporting Mental Well-Being in Aviation during the COVID-19 Pandemic Electronic Bulletin (EB 2020/55).
The airport module contains specific guidance addressing elements for airport terminal building, cleaning, disinfecting, hygiene, physical distancing, staff protection, access, check-in area, security screening, airside areas, gate installations, passenger transfer, disembarking, baggage claim and arrivals areas.
The aircraft module contains specific guidance addressing boarding processes, seat assignment processes, baggage, interaction on board, environmental control systems, food and beverage service, lavatory access, crew protection, management of sick passengers or crew members, and cleaning and disinfection of the flight deck, cabin and cargo compartment.
In order to promote safe and sustainable international air travel, a closely coordinated international approach to the treatment of air crews, consistent with recognized public health standards, will be essential to alleviate burdens on critical transportation workers. These currently include screening, quarantine requirements, and immigration restrictions that apply to other travellers. The crew module contains specific guidance addressing the contact of a crew member with a suspected or positive COVID-19 case, reporting for duty, dedicated end-to-end crew layover best practices, crew members experiencing COVID-19 symptoms during layover and positioning of crew.
Cargo flight crews should apply the same health and safety considerations as passenger flight crews and are collectively included in the crew section of this document. Whilst air cargo consignments do not come into contact with the travelling public, the cargo acceptance and handover process does include interaction with non-airport employees. The cargo module addresses aviation public health including physical distancing, personal sanitation, protective barriers for points of transfer to the ramp and the loading and unloading, and other mitigation procedures.
The Take-off Guidance Document was developed in collaboration with aviation industry organizations. Several of these organizations have developed additional guidance pertinent to the operations of their members. This material has been developed, and is being maintained, in line with the Key Principles set out in the CART Report and with the Guiding Considerations included in this Take-off Guidance Document.
The guidance material developed by CANSO to support the operational safety and efficiency of air traffic services provision may be found at https://canso.org/publication/covid-19-restart-and-recovery-guide/
The guidance material developed by IBAC to support those business aviation operations that are not covered under the guidance for commercial air transportation may be found at https://ibac.org/guidance-documents
The guidance material developed by IAOPA to support general aviation, including flying schools, recreational and non-commercial flying, may be found at https://www.iaopa.org/doc/ICAO-Take-off-GA-Module.pdf
In order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and safeguard the health and safety of aviation personnel and passengers, States are strongly encouraged to collaborate with each other to establish Public Health Corridors.
A public health corridor is formed when two or more States agree to recognise 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 by means of the PHC template on the CRRIC.
In forming a public health corridor, it is anticipated that participating States would apply a mutually supportive multi-layered risk-based approach to their implementation of public health mitigating risk measures. A combination of risk controls will provide better protection than the implementation of only one or two selected risk controls. By collaborating on the measures implemented, States can establish a risk mitigation strategy that most effectively aligns to their risk tolerance and to their health and safety management systems.
To facilitate implementation of PHCs, the ICAO i-PACK “Establishing a Public Health Corridor” is available to States. It includes associated procedures and relevant tools that will be regularly updated in view of latest scientific developments.
States are encouraged to establish key performance indicators to monitor the effectiveness of risk mitigation measures especially with respect to aviation recovery included in each module. These indicators should be developed from an aviation perspective and based on data released by public health authorities.