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ICAO Issues COVID-19 Manual To Aid in Aviation Recovery

A “coordinated and consistent risk-based approach to COVID-19 testing” is at the heart of the new Testing and Cross-Border Risk Management Measures Manual published by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).  The publication is being recognized as a step forward in promoting the recovery of the global air travel industry, according to Airports Council International (ACI) World.

ACI World believes that this approach will reduce reliance on measures, such as quarantine, that restrict air travel and the movement of persons arriving in a country.

Restrictive quarantine measures are hampering the recovery of air travel as they provide a disincentive for passengers.  ACI’s recently published ASQ Global Traveler Survey found that 80 percent of those who wanted to travel in the coming months would be dissuaded if quarantine was required.

The publication of the ICAO manual will help to move the industry beyond such measures as it provides guidance for countries in implementing testing as a component of their overall COVID-19 risk management strategy.

ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said, “The considerable efforts of the aviation industry to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and to lead a global economic recovery are being severely hampered by restrictive and disproportionate measures, such as quarantine.  The aviation industry is united in the view that a coordinated and globally-consistent approach to testing as an alternative to quarantine will have the dual effect of reassuring passengers that air travel is safe and encouraging them to fly knowing they won’t have to quarantine.”

The manual was prepared by aviation health experts led by ICAO in close coordination with the Council Aviation Recovery Task Force and with support from the World Health Organization, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, European Centre for Prevention and Disease Control and others, as well as aviation medical and health experts from governments and industry.  These organizations form the Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation (CAPSCA).