Quick Reference Guides

Quick Reference Guides (QRGs) were developed by ICAO, with the support of relevant subject matter experts, to provide guidance of a particular subject area in addressing COVID-19 related risks to the continuity of business and operations that were under consideration by a State for alleviations, while ensuring that the safety risks introduced by any changes from alleviations were also addressed.  These were for areas which required the filing of a temporary difference using the COVID-19 Contingency Related Difference (CCRD) tool, or referred to areas, such as training, where the State has the authority to allow for exemptions, and extensions without needing to notify ICAO. 

All alleviations should be established using the Safety Risk Management (SRM) approach
CLICK HERE for a decision aid for CAAs in using a risk management approach to establish alleviations.
CLICK HERE for more detailed information on the SRM approach.


Click here for guidance on how to use the QRGs

The QRGs have been grouped according to specific operational areas, and are presented in tabular format as individual PDFs addressing a single alleviation. These can be downloaded and used as guidance by any State when developing specific alleviations in their own State.

Additional information regarding the status of published QRGs, is provided in the subsequent columns of the table.  The progress in transitioning from the need for each alleviation will be reflected changes to the status of its associated QRGs:

  • Current:           The QRG (and associated alleviation) is available for use as originally published.
  • Under review: The QRG is currently being reviewed with a view to making modifications.
  • Modified:         The QRG has been modified to incentivize a planned return to compliance with ICAO SARPs

  • Withdrawn:     QRGS are withdrawn for 2 possible reasons:

1. Alleviations supported by the QRG are no longer recommended and States are expected to comply with relevant SARPs; or

2. The QRG  supported an alternative means of compliance that would still enable States to meet the relevant Standard throughout the pandemic period, and through recovery and return to normal operations. Such guidance is now relocated to the Roadmap to OPS Normal website.

Y: CCRD entry
E: Extended CCRD entry

 The QRG is divided into sections which are shown below, along with a description of each element.

Alleviation Title


The area that the alleviation refers to, for example flight and duty time limitations, flight crew recency etc.



Updates will be posted as new guidance becomes available, the version number will help to keep track of the latest information.

Publication Date


Along with version number this will help to track the latest published guidance.

Relevant Standard(s)


Specific references to the Annexes and Standards, when applicable, will be included here.

CCRD entry required


This element indicates whether a temporary difference should be filed for this area, using the CCRD tool.  This will be the case where a 'hard' limit is included directly in the Standard, such as the identified timeframes for meeting recency requirements for flight crew or validity extensions for medical certificates.

Problem Statement


A description of why the area needs to be considered in the current pandemic situation.



The section details the scope of the alleviation being considered. It is used to provide detail regarding what needs to be in place before any such alleviations should be considered.

Alleviation summary


A description of what the alleviation is trying to achieve.

Operational context


This section outlines additional considerations that are not implemented by the State as mitigations, but which need to be reviewed when determining what the best course of action is.

Possible Mitigations and/or Solutions


A list of potential mitigations and/or solutions is provided which may prove useful. It is not intended that all are implemented by a State, but that these be considered for their usefulness in each situation.

Alleviations likely to be unacceptable to other States


In this section guidance is offered about any limitations to the scope of alleviations. It is intended to act as a guide to what is likely to be considered unreasonable by other States, as it may be introducing additional risk, or maybe inappropriate for the situation.



Documents which contain additional information relevant to the area are listed here.

This guidance has been developed by ICAO with the support of SME's made available from States and Industry through different ANC panels, study groups and other expert groups. ​

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