ICAO launches COVID-19 contingency coordination tool and new measures to ensure safe operations

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ICAO issued a State letter that draws the attention of national governments to new measures aimed at ensuring safe operations during COVID-19, and to a contingency coordination website that will remain in place through 31 March 2021.

The State letter was issued by ICAO Secretary General, Dr. Fang Liu, and comes as more and more aviation service providers and personnel globally are facing challenges in terms of maintaining the validity of their certifications, licenses, and other types of official operating approvals.

Many of the related challenges are resulting directly from the social distancing guidelines, current business closures, and other public health measures being taken to mitigate the spread and societal impact of COVID-19.

“There are approximately 650,000 licensed personnel supporting commercial air transport worldwide. If a fraction of those personnel is affected by the pandemic measures, the potential for the disruption may be significant,” Dr. Liu noted in today’s ICAO State letter. “In order to facilitate safe operations during these difficult times, I encourage States to be flexible in their approaches while at the same time adhering to their obligations under the Convention on International Civil Aviation.”

All ICAO Member States were urged in the letter to indicate whether they would be recognizing or accepting the validity of certificates and licenses now being affected by the public health measures being implemented in other States.

The letter also drew States’ attention to the specific articles to the Convention on International Civil Aviation relating to certificates and licenses, and urged them to record and inform ICAO of any contraventions or ‘differences’ currently arising against these provisions during the current contingency period