ICAO has issued reinforced recommendations for countries on risk management and the introduction of COVID-19 related national air travel requirements. Issued in a new ICAO bulletin from its Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation, or ‘CAPSCA’ programme, the guidance is designed to help countries maintain air connectivity while taking prudent and evidence-based measures to mitigate ongoing risks of SARS-CoV-2 transmission.
“This new ICAO bulletin clearly emphasizes that as more States lift their COVID-19 related cross-border restrictions for air travellers, it is important for increased air travel connectivity and improved facilitation everywhere that pandemic-related restrictions should only be introduced and maintained based on evidence-based risk management, and following World Health Organization (WHO) and ICAO recommendations and guidance,” commented ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar. “This approach contributes to enhanced travel, tourism, trade and economies.”
The CAPSCA recommendations begin with the principles countries should consider before introducing air travel requirements and related mitigations.
“A need for regular, thorough risk assessments, based on evidence and comparable indicators is noted in this bulletin, in addition to assessing applicable public health resources in both the departure and destination States, assuring good communication among the diverse stakeholders involved, and balancing the public health risk with the need for continuation of services,” stressed ICAO Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano. “All of these priorities were highlighted by the ICAO Council’s CART recommendation’s which helped aviation recover from the pandemic, and the principles remain just as relevant today as we face these new variants.”
Additional recommendations are provided on how countries can mitigate COVID-19 risks in aviation, including through increased global vaccination.
The Fifteenth Meeting of the Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation – Asia Pacific (CAPSCA-AP/15) was held over three days from 14 – 16 December 2022 in Manila, Philippines, hosted by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.
The meeting was attended by 71 participants from 11 States/Administrations and nine International Organizations including ICAO, IOM and WHO. The CAPSCA – AP/15 meeting provided a useful forum for sharing updates and information related to public health events preparedness planning, especially the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic which will be significant for future planning. Dr. Manjit Singh, Deputy Regional Director of the ICAO APAC Office delivered opening remarks for the meeting, which also included remarks by the Honorable Jaime Bautista, Secretary, Department of Transportation of the Philippines, Director General of Civil Aviation, CAA Philippines and Chairman, CAA Bangladesh as the out-going Chair of CAPSCA-AP. Captain Manuel Antonio L. Tamayo, the DGCA of the CAA Philippines was elected as the Chair of the meeting. The meeting endorsed 16 Conclusions. The meeting conclusions and presentations are available here.