ICAO issues new calls on COVID-19 response coordination

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ICAO has conveyed new advice to its Member States urging them to review and implement applicable civil aviation standards and recommended practices relevant to communicable disease response.

We are reminding national governments of the publicly and globally accessible COVID-19 online travel and health advisories which have been issued relevant to the outbreak by ICAO, the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and other aviation and international organizations.

In our most recent State letter, we urged States to implement relevant provisions of Annex 9–Facilitation to the Chicago Convention, to act on formalizing their membership in ICAO’s Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation (CAPSCA), to effectively establish a National Air Transport Facilitation Committee, and to clarify the roles and responsibilities of public health and civil aviation authorities during outbreaks, in order to support the continuous, safe, and orderly operation of global air services.

“We’re urging ICAO’s Member States to collaborate and coordinate on their national and regional preparedness and responses, and also to consider providing financial or in-kind support to the CAPSCA programme, including through the secondment of personnel, so that it can enhance its effectiveness in these scenarios,” commented ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu. “Increased financing is critical to the sustainability of this key global health and travel coordination mechanism relevant to contagious outbreaks.”

“The COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on airports’ operations globally, underpin the important role of public health authorities at air borders, and the need for an effective national policy framework on air transport facilitation to establish clear roles and responsibilities of the various ministries, agencies and organizations involved with or responsible for air transport facilitation,” Dr. Liu said.

This State letter also called on its member States to strengthen their preparedness plans for managing risks relating to communicable disease outbreaks by implementing effective collaboration and coordination strategies with all stakeholders, drew government attention to the training offered by the WHO and the ICAO CAPSCA facility, and underscored our support for the WHO’s call for international solidarity in the response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

To help member states better implement the Chicago Convention mandate that Contracting States provide for and facilitate the border-crossing formalities that must be accomplished with respect to aircraft engaged in international operations and their passengers, crews and cargo, Doc 10042,  Model National Air Transport Facilitation Programme (NATFP) is available here.

The establishment of the NATFP  and of the National Air Transport Facilitation Committee (hereafter the National FAL Committee) are required by Annex 9 — Facilitation Standard 8.17 and 8.19, respectively. The aim of the NATFP is to provide a framework to guide the improvement and optimization of aircraft, crew, passenger and cargo flows through airports. The committee provides a forum for consultation and information-sharing about facilitation matters amongst government stakeholders, government representatives of other air transport-related communities and the private sector.

In order to collect States’ information on the implementation of ICAO standards and provisions on topics such as their compliance with international health regulations of the WHO, and the maturity of their national planning relevant to communicable disease outbreaks posing a public health risk or public health emergency of international concern, we will also be establishing an online survey to assess current levels of global preparedness by States.

Document 10042 is available in the following languages: