The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is calling for the establishment of “COVID-19−free public health corridors (PHCs)” where specifically cleared crewmembers, aircraft, airport facilities and passengers can work.
The concept, recommended earlier this week by ICAO’s Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation (CAPSCA), was developed to address disruptions in the international air movement of essential supplies, as well as the widely varying restrictions on aviation adopted by countries around the world to cope with the pandemic.
“The PHC concept has been developed using a risk-based approach, taking into account safety management principles, with the key elements being the use of ‘clean’ crew, ‘clean’ aircraft, ‘clean’ airport facilities and transporting ‘clean’ passengers,” ICAO said. “‘Clean’ in this context refers to implementing measures to ensure, as far as possible, a COVID-19−free status within the aviation transport sector.”
ICAO said that it would review the PHC guidelines as the pandemic evolves and issue updated information when necessary.
Although the guidelines were designed to aid the transportation of medical supplies, food and other essential cargo, similar plans will be developed to aid humanitarian, repatriation and scheduled passenger operations, ICAO said.
“Given the lack of a vaccine and definitive treatment for COVID-19, and persisting limitations on testing and resources, the ICAO bulletin notes that while the risk of contracting COVID-19 during air travel cannot yet be completely eliminated, the risk to crew and passengers can be significantly mitigated by PHC measures,” ICAO said.